Murree Brewery Co., Pakistan’s only alcoholic beverage producers are allowed to produce hand sanitizers in the wake of action against a score of sub-standard brands of hand sanitizers being sold in the market.

According to the reports, the federal government has allowed the company to produce 10,000 gallons of sanitizers in a month to meet the surge in demand following the rapid spread of coronavirus in the country.

Heightened demand for hand sanitizers in Pakistan lured the manufacturers to inundate the market with mediocre products that were tested but lacked imperative alcohol content needed to kill the virus. Hence, after laboratory tests at Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), the government decided to remove 23 brands of hand sanitizers from the market.

The latest report suggests that the Punjab excise and taxation department has permitted various individuals including Murree Brewery and other companies to produce standard hand sanitizers since a vast majority of these products lacked ethanol.

According to the CEO Murree Brewery, Isphandyar Bhandara, the intent behind this offer is to help the country during pandemic situation.

“We wanted to help the country. We buy alcohol so that we already have it in stock—where we are making liquor, we can make sanitizers as well,” he said. “We know how to make it too. When the first few COVID-19 cases started popping up in Pakistan, we made in-house samples for our employees,” said Bhandara.

He further informed they have been allowed to produce hand sanitizers till June 2020. DG Excise and taxation, Suhail Shahzad, confirmed the reports.

Read more: Beware Pakistanis! Don’t use these sub-standard hand sanitizers

Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, has shared a list of sub-standard hand sanitizers sold in Pakistan. He informed that these hand sanitizers do not meet international standards hence they are useless in protecting people from coronavirus.

The list includes 23 brands of hand sanitizers available in the markets. “Dear all! As per Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) sample testing following 23 brands of Sanitizers are not in conformity with WHO standards, we have advised health departments to remove these brands from stores,” wrote Fawad Chaudhry in a tweet.