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Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai October 27 , 2020
Gujarat’s surplus production of 800 metric tonnes (MT) of medical oxygen by leading manufacturers have been diverted to neighbouring states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in the wake of rising cases of COVID-19.

Gujarat is today producing four times more than its requirement of 200 metric tonnes of medical oxygen on a daily basis. As of today, there are 80 manufacturers in Maharashtra and 57 in Gujarat which have been licensed to produce medical oxygen.

“Surplus production is today benefiting neighbouring states as the Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) has also been issuing new licenses to cater to the growing demand. Earlier, it was also brought to the notice of Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) that few States were trying to curb the free inter-state movement of oxygen supplies by exercising provisions under various Acts but now the supply chain has been streamlined,” according to Gujarat FDCA Commissioner Dr H G Koshia.

All healthcare institutions in the state of Gujarat have also been directed to comply with Essential Commodities (EC) Act and provide medical oxygen free of cost.

Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the union commerce ministry has also directed state licensing authorities to furnish details about stock of medical oxygen on an urgent basis. It had also requested to provide information concerning the daily stock position (in tons), daily installed capacity (in tons) and daily actual production (in tons), market share, name and address of the manufacturers along with their contact details and date of verification of the claim of venting.

All this information needed to be furnished by state licensing authorities (SLAs) daily before 05.00 pm. DPIIT had earlier shared with DCGI list of major medical oxygen manufacturers which are based in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa Gujarat, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Uttarakhand to discuss preparedness for availability of medical oxygen in the country.

The Gujarat FDCA had issued licenses to 14 more oxygen manufacturers during the lockdown period. The state has now the availability of over 5.2 lakh cubic metres oxygen against the requirement of 62,860 cubic metres oxygen. “Gujarat has adequate supply of medical oxygen which is today an indispensable component in healthcare system and caters to requirements of other states also based on the demand and situation,” Dr Koshia added.

DCGI had earlier directed state licensing authorities (SLAs) to urgently grant permission to manufacturers of industrial oxygen to manufacture medical oxygen in the light of COVID-19 outbreak.

As per the DCGI directive to the SLAs, it has been decided in public interest that the premises which are having facility to manufacture industrial oxygen should be granted manufacturing license to manufacture oxygen for medical use within 24 hours of the submission of application and fees as per the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Act.

Supplemental oxygen therapy is a part of the clinical management of COVID-19. It is the use of oxygen as a medical treatment. This also includes supplementing oxygen for low blood oxygen, carbon monoxide toxicity, cluster headaches and to maintain enough oxygen while inhaled anaesthetics are given.

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