'We are facing problem in distribution due to the lockdown'
KATHMANDU, April 10: Nepal Ausadhi Limited (NAL) is facing difficulty in distribution of sanitizer which it started producing from March 15.
The state-owned drug-maker has the capacity to produce 20,000 bottles of sanitizer per day. It has been producing around 15,000 bottles per day. But it has been able to send only around 7,000 bottles per day to the market due to the lockdown enforced by the government.
“We are facing problem in the distribution of sanitizer,” Bijaya Shree Ratna Bajracharya, general manager of NAL, told Republica. “We are holding discussion with concerned government officials for smooth distribution of sanitizers.”
He, however, added that supply in Kathmandu Valley is normal and regular.
According to NAL, the public enterprise is getting demands from places outside the valley. “Some traders have even proposed to use their own motor vehicles for transportation,” Bajracharya added. "Due to shortage of sanitizers, people started to make sanitizers at home itself due to fear of the spread of COVID-19. As a state-owned company, we decided to start the production and make the product available in cheaper price,” he said, adding: “The sanitizers produced in the NAL factory consists of 80% alcohol as per the requirement of World Health Organization.”
NAL officials say that they have been using medical grade bottles to distribute sanitizers even though the availability of bottles is very limited. The product is available in 100 ml bottles with nozzle caps. “Due to the lockdown, most of the factories and industries have remained shut. But we have persuader a factory at the Patan Industrial Estate to produce and supply bottles to us,” Bajracharya said. “As they are supplying us only 100 ml bottles, we have not been able to produce packs of different capacities.
NAL has priced the sanitizers at Rs 150 per bottle for wholesalers and Rs 175 for retailers. The state-owned company claims that its product is cheaper than other brands available in the market.
The company has a total of 100 employees. However, only 30% of its workforce is at the factory at the moment. “We have maximized our efficiency by four times as only a third of employees are coming to work at present,” he added.
Along with sanitizer, the state-owned pharmaceutical company has been producing Cetamol, Cetaplus and Jeevan Jal. “We are producing 200,000 Cetamol tablets a day. But as there is high demand for paracetamol tablets at the moment, we do not have the drug in stock,” he added.