COVID-19News

HMD ships over 100 million KOJAK auto-disable syringes to Covax facility

The company will make a total of 177.6 million AD syringes for the India market by March 2021

Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices (HMD) has shipped over 100 million pieces of KOJAK auto-disable syringes to Covax stockpile facility as the COVID-19 vaccines are showing promising results across the globe.

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The Covax facility working for global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines has ordered 140 million KOJAK AD Syringes from HMD to be supplied between August and December 2020.

“HMD has shipped out more than 100 million pieces of 0.5 ml auto-disable (AD) syringes for intramuscular injections to Covax facility and will soon send the next 40 million syringes by December as the race for a ‘safe and effective’ vaccine against coronavirus infection is on the horizon,” said Rajiv Nath, MD, Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices.

“In anticipation of the unprecedented spike in demand, HMD has ordered multi-cavity moulds, high-speed assembly and packaging lines and expects to achieve 800 million capacity per annum, in quarter one and 1000 million by end of quarter two of 2021, up from current capacity of 700 million of these specialised 0.5 ml AD Syringes. We plan to allocate 50 per cent of the total 0.5 ML AD syringes produced for the government of India and 50 per cent for export to UNICEF as we have got a global responsibility too,” said Nath.

“The front runner CoviD vaccines being launched in India would need a 0.5ml AD syringe for intramuscular drug delivery we are informed. In addition to the annual procurement of 300-350 million of these syringes by Government of India for the UIP (Universal Immunization Program) additional orders have been placed on us by MoH&FW. We are informed that MoH&FW is in discussion with their other two suppliers also to place additional orders or seek to prepone deliveries of already placed orders with them. HMD is on track to produce 177.6 million 0.5 ml KOJAK AD syringes for GOI by March 2021 and 60 million are already in our stock, awaiting dispatch instructions,” explained Rajiv Nath.

“HMD is gearing up to meet the auto-disable syringe demands which is the preferred mode of injection in public healthcare to ensure injection safety in addition to private healthcare where standard disposable syringe usage is prevalent. We have requested the government to provide us clarity on the various kinds of syringes required for the vaccine candidates under development as some of these would be by intradermal delivery ( via skin) or intranasal delivery (via the nose) or possibly oral delivery (via mouth). Each type would require a matching specialised syringe type. We need early intimation for boosting the capacities further. Syringe production is not like production of PPE kits which can be easily ramped up. It requires precision-engineered multi-cavity moulds, equipment and automation that have a lead time of 9 months to a year from reputed suppliers in Europe and Japan,” said Nath.

“We on behalf of the Indian syringe manufacturers appeal to the government to increase the import duty on syringes to enable a ‘level the playing field.’ It has not been feasible for domestic manufacturers to fully access the local market. Last year, India had exported nearly 1.07 billion syringes worth over Rs 250 crore but imported Rs 423 crore- worth of syringes. It’s ironic that though we are globally competitive, we lose out to cheap subsidised Chinese imports and the requirement to match L1 (lowest) price of Chinese imports becomes non-remunerative and discourages investments as it’s like making traffic lights, if the government will not buy, you can’t sell in the private sector and it takes time to build credentials for exports. Currently over 50 per cent of the AD syringes used in immunisation come in from China. We urge the government to increase import duty on syringes from 7.5 per cent to 15 per cent to enable expansion of supply base and profitable growth of quality certified production of all components and products in India,” said Nath.

“As India gets ready for COVID-19 vaccine, the government should be well equipped with a secured stock of syringes in advance to administer a vaccine when it is ready. The estimated demand in India would be around 900 million of different kinds of syringes for just one shot of the vaccine, considering 60-70 per cent of the country is being vaccinated. The number would amplify to 1.8 billion if the vaccine India chooses, needs two shots,” concluded Rajiv Nath.

 

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