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Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai January 23 , 2021
The Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) is supplying hand sanitisers to neighbouring states like Rajasthan, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra due to surplus production through its 624 manufacturers to address the growing demand.

Gujarat today is producing 2 crore litre per day of hand sanitizer from the earlier 5 lakh sanitisers dated March 21, 2020. The state had 15 hand sanitizer manufacturers before the first lockdown. It has issued hand sanitizer licenses to 609 manufacturers till date to address growing demand amidst Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.

“The state has been reporting a surge in demand for essential commodities like sanitisers and masks. Due to the tremendous surge in demand, the Gujarat government made the provision of approving licenses for hand sanitizers production and distribution under the emergency use authorization to ensure its consistent supply,” explained FDCA commissioner Dr HG Koshia.

The Gujarat government has also exempted sale and distribution of ethanol for production of hand sanitizers in order to tide over its shortage in the state. The exemption which was notified by the state government was done because the cost of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) which was Rs. 80 per litre earlier before the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak was being sold illegally at arbitrary price of Rs. 300 per litre.

Taking patient safety into consideration amidst outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the Gujarat FDCA has approved product licences mostly from small and medium Indian manufacturers which have Schedule M compliant units and which are complying with the provisions of cosmetic rules.

A state level committee has also been formed to oversee the consistent supply of drugs, masks and sanitisers. The committee is headed by Gujarat FDCA Commissioner with members from the state industry department and state pollution control board. Union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution had earlier notified that the retail prices of hand sanitizer cannot be more than Rs. 100 per bottle of 200 ml. It is now capped at 100 ml at Rs 50 and 500 ml for Rs. 250. Both these notifications are in force till June 30, 2020.

The ministry in a notification dated March 19, 2020 had brought raw materials for manufacture of hand sanitizer under Essential Commodities (EC) Act to ensure their smooth availability in market at affordable price in view of the outbreak of Covid-19.

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