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Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai July 10 , 2020
Maharashtra as of today boasts of producing 3,000 tons of medical oxygen and accounts monthly sale of 2,311 tons of medical oxygen. This data is based on the information shared by the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and Union commerce ministry towards maintaining its adequate stock in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

According to official sources, Maharashtra today has surplus oxygen supply with around 6,517 medical oxygen cylinders available. Part of the credit goes to major industrial oxygen manufacturers having its footprint in Maharashtra like Lynde India, Taiyo Nippon Sanso India, Kolhapur Oxygen Acetylene and Inox India.
 
“Taiyo Nippon Sanso India alone has a production capacity of 3,000 ton/month with Kolhapur Oxygen Acetylene having production capacity of 31 ton per day. Lynde India has production capacity of 31.45 ton per day with Inox India having 100 ton production capacity per day,” according to Maharashtra FDA records.

Maharashtra is keeping a proper oversight to ensure adequate availability of medical oxygen for treating critically ill COVID-19 patients in the state. 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 daily before 05.00 pm.

As of today, there are 80 manufacturers in Maharashtra which have been licensed to produce medical oxygen based on the DCGI directive. 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 state drug regulator had also sent across a directive to all the industrial gas manufacturers in the state to produce medical grade oxygen to cater to the growing demand for treating critically ill COVID-19 patients in the country. This was following DCGI directive to state licensing authorities (SLAs) to urgently grant permission to manufacturers of industrial oxygen to manufacture medical oxygen in the light of COVID-19 outbreak. 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 anesthetics are given.

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. An undertaking need to be furnished in writing to manufacture medical oxygen in compliance with standards prescribed in Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) and labeling requirement as per the D&C Act and Rules. Oxygen therapy is the single most effective supportive measure in COVID-19 patients. Children with emergency signs (obstructed or absent breathing, severe respiratory distress, central cyanosis, shock, coma or convulsions) should receive oxygen therapy during resuscitation.

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