Ministry of Economy suspends export of syringes and needlesJan, 04, 2021 Posted by Ruth Hollard
The Ministry of Economy’s Foreign Trade Secretariat restricted the export of syringes and needles by including the products among those that need a special license to be exported. According to the decree issued by the secretariat, the restriction took effect on January 1.
The change was requested by the Ministry of Health on December 30. The Ministry of Health explained to the Ministry of Economy that the measure is necessary “so that the Federal Government can implement the National Immunization Plan with the necessary inputs to carry out all stages of the scheduled vaccinations, without prejudice to the COVID Vaccination Plan”.
“The Ministry of Health clarifies that it asked the Ministry of Economy to temporarily stop the export of surplus syringes and needles from sales contracts to foreign and domestic markets signed between Brazilian companies and their customers. Thus, only amounts in excess of the lots already contracted will be affected”, stated a note on January 3rd.
In the note, the Ministry also said that “there is a satisfactory stock of syringes distributed at vaccination stations in Brazil. These supplies can even be used to initiate vaccination quickly and safely”.
An April 2020 law allowed a ban on the export of medical, hospital, and hygiene products essential to fighting the pandemic of the new coronavirus. The law cited personal protective equipment, mechanical ventilators, hospital beds, and multiparameter monitors, but allowed the inclusion of other items by an “Executive Power Act”.
The regulation of the law, however, requires a special license for the export of products included in the list of prohibited items.
In its request to the Economy, the Ministry of Health cites the auction held on December 29, in which the portfolio only managed to acquire 2.4% of the total syringes and needles it intended to buy for vaccination against Covid-19. The auction foresaw the purchase of a total of 331 million syringes, but the companies that participated guaranteed delivery of only 7.9 million.
Companies that participated in the electronic auction complained that the announcement ordered syringes and needles as a single product and that the prices were below those practiced.
According to the estimate of the Superintendent of ABIMO (the Brazilian association of medical and dental equipment and products), Paulo Henrique Fraccaro, the national industry today produces 1.5 billion syringes and exports do not represent even 10% of this total (between 100 and 120 million).
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