NEW DELHI: In the midst of lockdown and the scare of coronavirus spread, drug wholesalers, distributors and retailers are facing major disruptions in supplies, especially to remote areas and states which do not have manufacturing units.
Drug manufacturers and retailers said while warehouses have stocks for around 15 days, panic buying by people may lead to shortage of essential and commonly used medicines if hurdles in supply chain continue.
“With the threat of Covid-19 infection and lockdown in place, truckers are refusing to go on long routes as they are being harassed by police in the absence of enough curfew passes. There is also shortage of food on the route for these truckers,” said Sandeep Nangia, President of Delhi Chemists’ Association.
On Friday, availability of medicines in retail outlets improved in major metros such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru with state authorities ensuring that chemists are allowed to operate without curfew passes.
“But there is a problem faced in logistics for transporting from factories to clearing and forwarding agents because like every other industry, we are also facing staff crunch and those available are being stopped by police,” said an executive of a pharma company.
Meanwhile, All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) approached the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure smooth functioning of chemists and take measure to facilitate the functioning of the supply chain.
The government on Friday formed a task force with representatives from various related ministries including the department of pharmaceuticals, home affairs ministry, shipping ministry and others to ensure that essential supplies and commodities do not face supply disruptions.