Hydroxychloroquine output fast catching up in Himachal

Pharma firms line up to seek nod for making anti-malaria drug

Hydroxychloroquine output fast catching up in Himachal

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Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, April 8

Manufacturing of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, is fast catching up in the Asia’s pharmaceutical hub of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) area.

Being in high demand after the Covid-19 pandemic, the pharmaceutical companies are lining up to seek permission to meet the global demands. The Union government has already announced to provide this drug to nations badly affected by the pandemic. Zydus Cadila and Cipla are the major manufacturers of hydroxychloroquin in the state.

Around 30 pharmaceutical units have approvals to manufacture this drug in the BBN area though factors such as availability of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and manpower would determine whether a unit can undertake its manufacturing to its optimum capacity.

Deputy Drug Controller Manish Kapoor said Cadila has been granted approval to manufacture hydroxychloroquine at Baddi. He said many companies have sought permission to manufacture this drug but since they lacked the stability studies data for six months, which is mandatory under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, their approval was yet to be granted.

He said if the Drug Controller General of India relaxes this norm, they would go ahead with the approvals.

State Drug Controller Navneet Marwaha said the state pharmaceutical firms were competent to cater to the growing global and domestic needs for this drug.

He said companies like Panacea Biotech, Glenmark, Zydus Cadila, Unichem, Mcleods, Immacule and Morepen were among the USFDA-approved companies in Himachal while there were more than 200 companies who had approvals from the European Union and a similar number were WHO-GMP- certified. These companies can undertake drug manufacturing to meet the global demands.

He said MNCs and major pharmaceutical firms which had manufacturing units in other states could shift their product manufacturing to the BBN belt in view of skyrocketing demand from various nations.

The presence of scant workforce in the manufacturing units was, however, a cause of concern after the lockdown. Since people from other states as well as from within the state were prohibited from entering this industrial belt, the pharma industry was able to utilise barely 15-20% of its capacities, as per a report of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association.

Zydus Cadila, Cipla major manufacturers

  • The Union government has already announced to provide this drug to nations badly affected by the pandemic
  • Zydus Cadila and Cipla are the major manufacturers of hydroxychloroquin in the state
  • Around 30 pharma units have approvals to make this drug in the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh area though availability of APIs and manpower would determine whether they can undertake the manufacturing to their optimum capacity

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