A medical body has urged the government to allow exports of ventilators over concerns of a supply glut. The Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AIMED) has said that there have been no orders from the government for more than a month and they have large inventories of ventilators piling up. The government, fearing shortage, had ordered a ban on exports of ventilators on March 18.
The AIMED wrote a letter and demanded for ventilator exports to be restored. It said that with no order from the government, manufacturers do not only have unsold inventory but are also witnessing falling demand and crashing prices. It urged the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to allow ventilator exports from August.
"In the next four weeks, more manufacturers are likely to resume production which may result in a supply glut of ventilators leading to worries of huge losses and worries of non-performing assets in a nascent industry. We request you to kindly intervene with Chairman of Empowered Committee of Essential Medical Equipment and Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals Commerce Ministry and DGFT for opening up exports of ventilators," AIMED said in its letter.
The association said that manufacturers have slowed down or stopped production for the past one month as unsold inventory is piling up and demand and prices have fallen. The Public Healthcare, Ministry of Health and HLL are not placing any further orders, it said. AIMED also alleged that HLL, the agency that is designated by the Centre to make COVID-related purchases had last tendered on May 15 but has not released any order against this.
AIMED forum coordinator Rajiv Nath told India Today TV, "Manufacturers seek opening up of export restrictions in absence of release of further orders by MoH&FW and other state government. State governments who had been placing orders till April had been asked to send requirements for ventilators via PM CARES," he added.
The Centre had allocated Rs 2,000 crore from PM CARES Fund for the purchase of ventilators. Industry sources have told India Today TV that the government hasn't placed orders on anyone since April.