“The Gujarat FDCA approved construction plans for a total 350 plants in the pharmaceutical space since April. Of these, majority are for manufacturing hand sanitisers,” said Dr HG Koshia, commissioner, Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA), Gujarat.
Out of the total new plants built for hand sanitisers, the cosmetic segment accounted for 226 units, followed by ayurvedic (86) and allopathic (7). As per the norms, a new pharma plant’s construction plan is required to be approved by the state drug regulator.
“Apart from these, 23 new plants for producing medical grade oxygen have also been approved. While construction of only 8 plants for bulk drugs, formulations and other drugs has been granted permission since April,” Koshia added.
According to the drug commissioner, some of the companies that built new plants for hand sanitisers also include names such as Marico, Asian Paints, Rekvina Pharmaceuticals, Fresio Herbals, Gujarat Lifescience Private Ltd and Aariva Pharma Products.
“Initially, it was a challenge to ensure adequate supply of sanitisers. However, entrepreneurs in Gujarat turned the adversity into an opportunity with the active support of the state government in terms of policy decisions,” he said.
Leaving behind the days of acute shortage, the state now has a hand sanitiser production capacity of over 2 crore litres per day (LPD). With the demand for hand sanitiser shooting through the roof, several biggies such as Zydus Wellness, Adani Wilmar, Eris Lifesciences, Cadila Pharma and Nivea India among many others dabbled into hand sanitizer production. Many pharma firms began handsanitizer production at their existing units also.
Gujarat now has 613 hand sanitiser manufacturers, the number was 228 before the Covid-19 outbreak, shows the data compiled by Gujarat FDCA shows. These manufacturers have cumulatively been issued 4,775 product licences.