Pharma cargo plans The Union health ministry has joined hands with the pharmaceutical industry and airport developers GVK and GMR to plan the setting up of dedicated cargo zones to handle the import and export of pharma products.

A committee with representatives from each of these stakeholders is scheduled to meet next month to discuss how to do this at three airports – Mumbai, New Delhi and Hyderabad. The Nhava Sheva port at Navi Mumbai will house a similar cargo zone, meant to ensure the quality of medicines in transit.

The area to be dedicated and the facilities to be provided will depend on the volume of medicines handled. Over 90 per cent of the pharma trade is through these outlets, sources say.

An administrative order clearing the proposal to set up such pharmaceutical zones was issued by the health ministry on March 12.

“There will be dedicated storage centres for drugs that are imported and exported. This will prevent the possibility of cross-contamination. Similarly, drugs will be stored at different temperatures as prescribed under the law, thereby retaining their efficacy,” said Surinder Singh, the Drugs Controller General of India.

Drug regulatory officials would also be posted at these zones for testing the quality of medicines being exported. “The testing will be carried out under the same cold chain conditions where the drugs are kept during transit.