Pandemic boost: Number of licences for drug manufacturing units, medical stores soars in Gujarat

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October 26, 2021 3:15 AM

Going by official data of the previous three years, Gujarat FDCA issued 532 new licences for the manufacturing of allopathy medicines during 2020-21.

“Generally, we used to issue 350 to 450 new licences before the pandemic,” Dr Hemant Koshia, Gujarat FDCA commissioner, said.“Generally, we used to issue 350 to 450 new licences before the pandemic,” Dr Hemant Koshia, Gujarat FDCA commissioner, said.

Gujarat’s Food & Drug Control Administration (FDCA) issued a record number of licences for new manufacturing units and sales units (medical stores) after the Covid-19 outbreak.

Going by official data of the previous three years, Gujarat FDCA issued 532 new licences for the manufacturing of allopathy medicines during 2020-21.

“Generally, we used to issue 350 to 450 new licences before the pandemic,” Dr Hemant Koshia, Gujarat FDCA commissioner, said.

“The sudden spurt in the licences post-Covid-19 is due to increased demand for medicines like immunity boosters, vitamins and anti-viral drugs. Most of the new licences during the last fiscal were related to production of preventive drugs.”

More than 90% of the 532 new licences are operational at present. In 2018-19 and 2019-20, the Gujarat FDCA had issued 35) and 450 new licences, respectively.

Before the pandemic, after getting the licence, a company would take four to six months to initiate operations. But since last year, some units went into production within a week of procuring a licence, Koshia said.

The FDCA also issued a record 76 new licences for Ayurvedic medicines during the last fiscal, compared to around 60 in 2019-20. “Consumption of Ayurvedic medicines increased after the Covid-19 outbreak, which translated into record applications for licences for new units. Not only did most of these new units go into production, but they are also thriving,” Kamlesh Bhatt, joint commissioner (Ayurveda), Gujarat FDCA, said.

Apart from manufacturing units, there has been a surge in sales units or medical store licences in the state. Gujarat FDCA issued almost 7,000 new licences to open new medical stores in 2020-21, as against 4,300 licences a year ago.

“During the first lockdown from last week of March 2020, apart from medical stores and essential commodity related outlets, all businesses remained closed. Besides, sales of medicines related to immunity increased by leaps and bounds, which drove young pharmacists to open their own businesses instead of working for others. This phenomenon is reflected in the age of applicants, especially for sales units,” a senior FDCA official said.

The flow applications in the current fiscal is even higher for both manufacturing and sales units, an official said.

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