The Department of Pharmaceuticals, under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, has warned the manufacturers and importers of masks, gloves and hand sanitisers of penal action for non-compliance of the orders issued on March 13 regarding submission of information pertaining to these items.
It may be noted that in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, the government on March 13 had declared face masks and hand sanitizers as essential commodities for the next 100 days as a step to increase the supply chain and curtail black marketing of these items to combat the spread of the virus. The Department of Pharmaceuticals has issued a memorandum that says: "Very few manufacturers and importers have submitted the requisite information pertaining to hand sanitisers, surgical gloves and mask information in the prescribed format."
"It is therefore informed to all the companies concerned that non-compliance of the orders issued by this office would attract penal provisions of DPCO, 2013 and Essential Commodities Act, 1995 which may lead to search and seizure and even prosecution for defaulting companies."
The Centre has asked the manufacturers to submit the details within 24 hours, latest by 6 PM on March 18, failing which the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) would be constrained to initiate the appropriate coercive action. The government has also invoked the Disaster Management Act to ensure price regulation and availability of surgical and protective masks, hand sanitizer and gloves. Both masks (2 ply and 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitisers have been brought under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, empowering States to regulate production, distribution and price control and to prevent black marketing.
So far in India, about 147 confirmed positive cases of COVID19 have been reported, including 14 cured and discharged cases and three deaths. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared it a pandemic. Globally, over 167,511 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported and 6,606 deaths across 152 countries. (ANI)