NDL struggling to supply sanitiser to market due to lockdown
Kathmandu - The government-run Nepal Drugs Limited (NDL) is finding it hard to get the hand sanitiser it has been producing in the hands of consumers due to the ongoing lockdown. NDL officiating general manager Bijayashree Ratna Bajracharya said 60,000 bottles sanitiser they have produced remained in the storehouse as it could not be transported and supplied due to the lockdown. It has been able to send the product to the market only in the Kathmandu Valley. There is high demand for sanitiser in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country but the NDL has not been able to supply the same to districts outside the Valley.
Bajracharya said although they have been getting orders for sanitiser from districts outside the Valley, they are at a quandary how to meet the demand. "We have been getting demand after demand. There is problem how this growing demand could be met. We are in discussions with the Ministry of Health and Population on transporting sanitiser to places outside the Valley," he said. Presently, NDL is producing up to 20,000 bottles of sanitiser daily. A bottle is 100 millilitres. The Limited has the capacity to manufacture 50,000 bottles on a daily basis. It has been producing sanitiser as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard by purchasing alcohol from various industries.
"Ten thousand to 12,000 bottles are sold daily. It is difficult to get them in the hands of consumers even if we produced in more quantity," Bajracharya said. More, he said only 100 millilitres bottles are produced in Nepal and they have to bring bottles more than that capacity from India. "We have not been able to bring bottles more than 100 millilitres capacity from India due to the lockdown, and it would be easier if the Ministry took initiatives for the import of these bottles from India," he added. NDL started manufacturing sanitiser from March 24 itself considering the possibility of spread of COVID-19. It has mobilised only one-third of its 82 employees in manufacturing sanitiser.
This, according to the officiating general manager Bajracharya, is for fear of coronavirus infection as the risk of infection would increase if a large number of employees were employed in sanitiser manufacturing at one place. NDL has been producing sanitiser with 80 per cent alcohol content whereas the alcohol content in sanitisers produced by other companies and that are available in the market is from 40 to 70 per cent only. Besides, sanitiser, NDL has been manufacturing paracetamol, oral rehydration salt sachets, among other drugs. The price of a 100-millilitre-bottle of sanitiser manufactured by NDL is Rs 175.