NEW DELHI: Claiming that the production of Remdesivir - a drug used to treat COVID-19 patients - has been raised by 10 times in India, the Centre on Saturday announced that its allocation to states has been decentralised.
The Union government said that while 33,000 vials of this injection were being produced in India each day on April 11, it has now reached 3.5 lakh vials per day.
With the supply more than the demand, the Centre will no longer allocate the anti-viral drug to the states, declared Union minister of state for chemicals and fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya.The number of plants producing Remdesivir has been increased from 20 to 60 within a month.
The National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Agency and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation have been asked to continuously monitor the availability of the drug in the country, the minister added.
Besides, the Centre has decided to procure 50 lakh vials of Remdesivir to maintain it as a strategic stock for emergency requirements, Mandaviya said. "But I have also directed @nppa_india & @CDSCO_INDIA_INF to continuously monitor the availability of Remdesivir in the country," he noted.
In order to improve supply, the government has already waived customs duty on Remdesivir, its raw materials, and other components used in making the antiviral drug in order to help augment domestic availability and reduce the cost of the injection.
During the peak of the second wave of COVID-19 in the country in late April and early May, the desperate calls by the kin of patients on social media platforms, seeking the drug and even paying exorbitant amounts to secure it in the black market had been a regular feature.
Remdesivir, as per the scientific evidence available so far, has only a very limited role in helping COVID-19 patients as it does not prevent death or arrests progression of the disease, but maybe reducing the period of hospitalisation for some patients.
However, the drug has been part of the national treatment protocol for COVID-19 as an investigational therapy, suggested for moderate to severe cases under specific circumstances.