Struggling for sustenance, pharmaceutical manufacturers of the State have called upon the Government to expand the drug procurement list and bring down the Turnover Clause so as to enable local manufacturers to participate in the bidding for supply of drugs.
While welcoming the move of the Government to restore the procurement of common drugs and surgical dressing from local MSMEs by reviving the rate contract system, the pharma sector stressed more sops so as to facilitate growth of the domestic industry.
Currently, the Health department procures around 500 types of drugs, of which local units are eligible for supplying only 31 common drugs through rate contract system.
Of the 31, only 20 drugs and medical consumables are actually procured through local units. Further, the local units are neither manufacturing nor supplying any life saving drugs, saline and injections and all these which constitute more than 90 per cent of the procurement are purchased from outside the State.
“Our supply has been restricted to mere antacids, medicine for common skin ailments, lotions and phenyl. But there are manufacturers who are producing commonly used generic drugs like diclofenac sodium and cetrizine and not able to supply to the Government as the turnover clause for the around 400 drugs is a high of Rs 10 crore. We have requested the Government to bring down the turnover clause to a level that the local units can compete with their bids,” Utkal Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (UPMA) secretary Rajesh Modi said.
The UPMA said the local pharmaceutical units had gone to great lengths to modernise their processes to comply with the Good Manufacturing Practice norms imposed by the Centre through an amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 2002. While the Government of Odisha declared Bhubaneswar and Cuttack as the Pharma Cluster in 2006-07, more than 25 units went for modernisation by investing over Rs 40 crore. But immediately, the rate contract was withdrawn and the pharma units were left to fend for themselves with assured supply to the Government.
“The local units, who had borrowed heavily for modernisation, have been facing serious problems of survival due to lack of encouragement and marketing support. At a time when many units are on the verge of closure, Health Minister Damodar Rout’s decision to revive rate contract for the 31 items has come as life-saver,” Rajesh Modi said and urged the Government to do more to enable the pharma cluster to develop and flourish.