New Delhi: The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has asked all states as well as union territories to ensure seamless movement of stock and manpower of pharma companies amid coronavirus-induced lockdown across the country. In a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all states and union territories (UTs), NPPA chairperson Shubhra Singh has asked them to ensure unobstructed movement of raw material, packing material, finished products and manpower related to manufacturing and distribution of drugs and medical devices. Referring to the guidelines issued by the home ministry to take effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country, it said that while industrial establishments were to remain closed, an exception was made for manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, raw materials and intermediates. The letter has asked them (states and UTs) to pass instructions to the district administration/concerned authorities to facilitate the pharma companies and ensure smooth movement of stock and manpower during the lockdown period. While as per the guidelines, all transport services will remain suspended exceptions were made for transportation of essential goods only. An exception was also made for petroleum products, LPG, food products and medical supplies, the letter said. "The seamless functioning of pharma manufacturing and distribution units, both in the public and private sector is essential in dealing with the emergent situation. It is learnt that pharma companies are facing problem in movement of stock and manpower, which may hamper production and supply of medicines and medical devices thereby impacting their availability in the market," it added. The letter also enclosed the representation received from industry body FICCI in this regard. In the letter, Singh said NPPA is also operating a control room with a helpline number and complaints received on the number are also being referred to state drug controller for suitable intervention.
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