NEW DELHI: Amid persistent reports of a shortage in availability of Remdesivir, the government on Wednesday announced that it gave fast track approvals to seven additional sites with a production capacity of 10 lakh vials per month. Another 30 lakh vials per month are also in the pipeline to ramp up its production in the country. Currently, seven production sites produce 38.8 lakh vials in a month.
The latest interventions are likely to raise the production capacity to around 78 lakh vials per month in India.
Last week, the government had put ban on export of Remdesivir for the time being to meet domestic needs.
Four lakh vials were being supplied outside every month.
Remdesivir has been part of India’s national Covid treatment protocol as an investigational therapy, despite a WHO study finding the drug “had little or no effect on hospitalized patients with Covid, as indicated by overall mortality, initiation of ventilation, and duration of hospital stay.”
As the second wave of the outbreak in India has catapulted active cases to over 13 lakh within a few weeks, lakhs of patients are desperately seeking the drug which is meant to be available only in hospitals.
Administered over 5 or 10 days, the course of treatment should not exceed Rs 6,000 as each vial is supposed to cost Rs 595. But there are reports that black marketers are fleecing people in need of the injection.
“Manufacturers have volunteered to reduce the price to less than Rs 3,500 by the end of this week, to support the efforts of PM Narendra Modi, to fight against Covid,” the Ministry of chemicals and fertilizers said, adding that the manufactures were directed to give priority to hospital and institutional level supplies.
Enforcement authorities were directed by the DCGI to take immediate action on blackmarketing, hoarding and overcharging of the drug, it said.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority is continuously monitoring the availability of Remdesivir. On Tuesday, authorities had insisted that the drug should be used only Covid patients in need of oxygen.
Manufacturers step in to help people: Reports
There were reports that manufacturers of Remdesivir have also volunteered to reduce the price to less than Rs 3,500 per vial by the end of this week in order to support the efforts of the government in the fight against second wave of Covid infections