Against the backdrop of a controversy over the quality of the ventilators developed by a private firm for COVID-19 patients in Gujarat, the state government on Wednesday said they are certified by an accredited laboratory and fit to use.
The 'Dhaman-1' ventilators were developed by Rajkot-based firm Jyoti CNC which had "donated" 866 of them to the state government last month in view of the acute shortage of such equipment, said Principal Secretary, Health, Jayanti Ravi.
However, a row erupted recently when the Ahemedabad civil hospital wrote to the government stating that the 'Dhaman-1' ventilators were not up to the mark, and sought sophisticated machines.
Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda had accused the government of "playing with the lives" of COVID-19 patients by purchasing "sub-standard" ventilators having no approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI).
However, Ravi sought to put the controversy to rest. "'Dhaman-1' ventilators are as good as other such machines. They are certified by a Centrally accredited laboratory," the senior bureaucrat told reporters in Gandhinagar.
Responding to the allegations over its quality and alleged violation of norms, Ravi said since a ventilator is not a drug formulation, it does not require any approval from the DCGI.
"Instead of creating a controversy, we should appreciate Jyoti CNC for coming forward at a time when there was an acute shortage of ventilators to treat coronavirus patients. This machines were put to use only after receiving the performance and safety certificate from EQDC following intensive testing," Ravi said.
The Electronics and Quality Development Centre (EQDC) is a laboratory approved by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
"Even Puducherry (administration) and the Maharashtra government have expressed their interest in purchasing 'Dhaman-1'. We have also learned that the Centre, through a nodal agency, placed an order to purchase 5,000 Dhaman 1 ventilators," said Ravi.
When asked about the letter of the Ahmedabad civil hospital, Ravi said it had demanded high-end ventilators for critical patients.
"It (the letter) was an additional demand as part of a precautionary measure. There is no major difference in the performance of 'Dhaman-1' and other ventilators," she said.
As on Tuesday, Gujarat's tally of COVID-19 cases stood at 12,141 and fatalities at 719. Of the 6,379 "active" cases, 49 patients are in a critical condition, Ravi had said.