In order to ensure production of critical drugs and medical equipment within the country amid the coronavirus threat, the Union government has approved schemes worth Rs 14,000 crore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told leaders of pharma industry on Saturday.
He requested the industry leaders to work on manufacture of RNA diagnostic kits for COVID-19 on war footing, an official statement said.
In an interaction with them via video conference, Modi said that not only does the industry need to ensure maintenance of supply lines of essential medicines, medical kits and equipment but it should try to come up with new and innovative solutions, according to the statement.
He said the government is committed to helping the industry in maintaining the supply of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), underlining the importance of manufacture of such APIs within the country.
He said in order to ensure production of critical drugs and medical equipment within the country, the government has approved schemes worth Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 4,000 crore respectively.
Modi said that pharma producers and distributors have a crucial role to play in combating the challenge of COVID-19.
He asked the medicine retailers and pharmacists to be on constant vigil to ensure that black marketing and hoarding of medicines is avoided and supply of essentials maintained. He suggested that wherever feasible, supply of medicines in bulk may be avoided.
The prime minister said that in this hour of need, it is imperative for the industry to work continuously and also ensure that there is no shortage of workforce in the pharma sector.
He suggested exploration of home-delivery model to allow for maintenance of social distancing at pharmacies, and also promotion of usage of digital payment mechanisms to prevent the spread of the virus.
The pharmaceutical associations thanked Modi for his leadership in this time of crisis, the statement said, adding that it underscored its commitment to maintaining supply of essential medicines and equipment, and are also working on developing vaccines.
They said that government's policy announcements for the pharma sector will give the sector a huge boost.
In a separate statement, the Prime Minister's Office urged people to follow Modi's appeal for 'Janata curfew' between 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday.
It also appealed people to follow his suggestion to thank service providers like medical staff, delivery persons and transport personnel among others at 5 pm by clapping hands or ringing bells for five minutes.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)