By Vivek Singh Chauhan
New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) With the surge in Covid cases amid the rising demand for syringes during the ongoing vaccination drive in India, Hindustan Syringes and Medical Devices (HMD) on Sunday said that the company will invest over Rs 100 crore to ramp up its production capacity from 2.5 billion syringes to over 3 billion.
Rajiv Nath, Managing Director, HMD told IANS that the company not only needs to invest in production lines of syringes-moulds, moulding machines, printing and assembly packaging, etc. but also in needle assembly, needles point grinding, recruiting workers and training them.
“Our current production capacity is over 2.7 billion syringes per annum of disposable and auto-disable syringes are approximately 90 lakhs daily. And we are investing over Rs 100 crore to ramp up capacity from 2.5 billion syringes to over 3 billion by next quarter,” Nath informed.
The medical syringe major recently received an order for the supply of 265 million auto disable syringes from the Union government. The company has allocated two-thirds of its production capacity for the government orders, and the balance for global UN customers.
HMD ships out 0.1 ml and 0.5 ml auto disposable Kojak syringes for global vaccination projects in the developing world, for yellow fever, measles, hepatitis B and others.
This is in addition to Covid-19 vaccination requirements of 0.3 ml for Pfizer’s vaccines or 0.5 ml auto-disable Kojak for AstraZeneca/Serum Institute of India (SII) or Bharat Biotech vaccines.
According to Nath, HMD has been practicing the government’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative for decades by making their components.
“We do share the Prime Minister’s vision and quest for an Atmanirbhar Bharat. It is in our DNA,” Nath said.
“It is another matter that government policies in the last 10 years favour imports of medical devices and components. So it’s no more a competitive advantage to produce these components in India,” he added.
The company said that it is also facing few challenges in the process of production and supply due to the pandemic.
“Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the delivery of moulds and machines from Indian and international suppliers is getting delayed by 1 to 3 months and with severe travel restrictions in many countries, we have to install the machines on our own as foreign technicians are not available which further delays commercial utilisation too,” Nath noted.
The company has received orders for 240 million Kojak syringes for COVAX via UNICEF and 79 million for Brazil for Dispovan syringes via PAHO.
“We had also shipped 140 million Kojak syringes to Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) last December. We have recently sold 15 million syringes to the Japanese government. In total, we serve over 120 countries worldwide,” he said.
Earlier, Nath had told IANS that over 440 million Kojak syringes will be supplied to India’s massive vaccination drive by September, including 177 million by April this year, alongside the supplies of Dispovan syringes to the private hospitals and vaccination clinics.
(Vivek Singh Chauhan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)