Karnataka: Of 230 million syringes’ order, firms have already produced 90 million | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices (HMD) and Iscon Surgicals, the two firms that bagged orders for more than 230 million syringes to aid the country’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, have already manufactured 90 million pieces. The entire order was to be fulfilled by March 2021.
Iscon from Jhodpur and HMD based in Faridabad, are the only firms contracted by the government to supply syringes. The Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoH&FW) on Thursday issued dispatch instructions for 70 million syringes which will soon reach various government warehouses.
“Of the 177.6 million syringes we had to deliver by March, we have already manufactured 70 million,” said Rajiv Nath, managing director, HMD. “Today, we got the nod to ship these out. It amounts to 115 truckloads of devices. We’ve also been told to prepare for additional orders, which will be issued soon.”
Sandeep Bhandari, vicepresident, Iscon, which has already manufactured 20 million of the 52.2 million syringes it was contracted to produce, said the firm is yet to get dispatch orders. “Until the government lifts stock, we won’t be able to make more devices given storage constraints,” he said, adding that the firm is expecting an additional order for about 100 million syringes.
Pointing out that raw material cost has gone up by around 40% in the past four months, Bhandari urged the government to dispose invoices early. “We understand the unprecedented times Covid has created, but we want to contribute to the country,” he said.
Both Nath and Bhandari said they were supplying devices at less than Rs 2 per piece. “It’s around Re 1.6,” Bhandari said, which puts the total cost of 233 million syringes at roughly Rs 37.2 crore.
Besides the order with the government of India, HMD, one of the world’s largest syringe suppliers, has orders for 140 million pieces from the Covax facility working for global equitable access. The firm has already shipped more than 100 million pieces of 0.5 ml auto disable (AD) syringes for intramuscular injections to Covax facility, a WHO-led initiative to ensure poor countries have access to the vaccine.
“We are planning to expand capacity to 800 million per annum by the first quarter of 2021 and touch 1,000 million by end of the second quarter,” Nath said, while Bhandari said Iscon is looking to expand its capacity from 240 million per annum to about 450 million.

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Sagar Biswas

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