Hand sanitiser manufacturing rules eased

Hand sanitiser manufacturing rules eased in an effort to keep up with unprecedented demand caused by COVID-19.

Hand sanitiser manufacturing rules have been eased in an effort to keep up with unprecedented demand caused by the global coronavirus outbreak.

The Australian Government Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has cut the red tape on the manufacturing of hand sanitiser, whilst maintaining strict safety requirements, to make it easier for Australian businesses to produce and supply hand sanitiser.

Currently, there is high demand for hand sanitiser in Australia’s health care system and hospital networks – particularly in rural and regional parts of the country.

The TGA has introduced an urgent legislative instrument and guidance to make it easier for local businesses to manufacture hand sanitiser.

This includes sanitisers for use in health care facilities – such as hospitals, aged care and other residential facilities – as well as for general consumer use.

Production of hand sanitiser can now proceed without the requirement of TGA approval or notification, provided one of the two recipes developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and endorsed by the US Food and Drug Administration are used.

Furthermore, if these recipes are used, food grade alcohol, which is cheaper and available in larger qualities than medical grade alcohol, can be used to manufacture the hand sanitisers.

Strict safety requirements have been placed on the labelling of these products. Manufacturers must also test the alcohol concentrations of each batch, manufacture under sanitary conditions, and maintain records of production to maintain consumer safety.

The changes were announced by Science Minister Karen Andrews and Health Minister Greg Hunt on Monday.

Companies wishing to manufacture or import new high-end hand sanitisers with different recipes for use in healthcare facilities will still require TGA approval.

But as per other products related to the COVID 19 pandemic, the TGA will prioritise these applications and review them as quickly as possible.

A number of Australian businesses have joined the fight against COVID-19 by recently commencing local production of hand sanitiser.

Australia’s largest manufacturer of rigid plastics Pact Group announced its production of hand sanitiser is expected to be in full swing by mid-April, when the group expects to be making about 2 million units of hand sanitiser per month.

Unilever, the consumer goods manufacturer of brands including Dove, Rexona, Lifebuoy, TRESemme, OMO, Surf, Streets and Continental, is also is increasing production further by adapting its current manufacturing lines to produce sanitiser for use in hospitals, schools and other institutional settings.

Local distilleries and breweries have also shifted their production focus to produce hand sanitiser including Manly Spirits Co and Archie Rose in Sydney, Adelaide’s Prohibition Liquor Co as well as Beenleigh Rum Distillery – Australia’s oldest distillery – and Bundaberg Rum Distillery.

Carlton & United Breweries announced this week it will donate at least 20,000 litres of hand sanitiser to frontline medical staff as they fight COVID-19 in emergency wards around the country. At least 40,000 500ml bottles are being produced for healthcare workers in partnership with Ecolab.

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