To examine the feasibility of resuming export of alcohol-based hand sanitiser amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the central drugs controller has asked states and union territories to submit by Friday noon details of manufacturers, their production capacity and if they fulfil domestic demand.
The government had on May 6 banned exports of alcohol-based hand sanitiser to ensure its availability in the domestic market as the novel coronavirus cases soared in the country.
In a letter to the State and UT Drug Controllers on Wednesday, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has sought details of hand sanitiser manufacturers, including their names and addresses, average production capacity, and average actual monthly production in April 2020.
The DGCI has also sought to know whether the domestic supply request is being fulfilled by the firms and if the manufacturers have adequate supply and easy availability of raw materials such as ethanol and isopropyl alcohol.
“In view of the present situation due to outbreak of COVID-19 to assess the present situation of production, sufficiency of availability in domestic market and excess production (if any) of hand sanitiser in order to examine its feasibility for export purpose, it is requested to provide the following information of the manufacturing details of hand sanitiser…,” the letter stated.
“Further based on your assessment it is also requested to inform that whether there is sufficient availability of hand sanitiser in your state/UTs. Whether hand sanitiser is being produced in excess quantity than demand (required for domestic market in India) by the firms so that the issue can be examined for its consideration of export feasibility,” the letter read.
The state and Union territory drug controllers have been asked to submit the information through email by 12 noon of May 15.
Only known way to stay safe
The simple act of washing your hands has become the only known way to stay safe from COVID-19. As more people, including the prime minister, health officials, celebrities, public faces and brands, started encouraging hygiene, the demand for products like soaps and hand sanitizers have shot up. In fact, hand sanitizers have become one of the fastest-selling products in the global market.
Reckitt Benckiser, the company that produces products under the brand name Dettol, has significantly scaled up production capacity of Dettol soaps, liquid soap, and hand sanitizers to meet the unprecedented demand.