VIJAYAWADA: Now it has become more of a guessing game with regard to how long the stock of a drug used in the treatment of SARS-COV-2, commonly known as Covid-19, will last in the state. The sudden surge in its demand due to spiking infections and insufficient supply have led to this situation.Even as the state government has been sending one SOS after another to the Centre regarding vaccine supply, with the latest being Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s letter to the prime minister seeking 25 lakh doses, the state is also expected to run out of Remdesivir soon.
While sources in the health department say government hospitals treating Covid-19 patients have sufficient stock of the drug for now, but for how long is anyone’s guess. However, it is learnt that some private hospitals have been complaining of a deficit supply of Remdesivir.
A private doctor, who wished to remain anonymous, said given the fall in the number of cases reported after the first wave, between November and March, the demand for the antiviral drug decreased, forcing manufacturers to scale down the production.
However, the sudden spike in the cases has pushed up the demand for Remdesivir. According to sources in pharma distribution companies, companies involved in the production of Remdesivir suffered losses and decreased the production after the first wave, hence the shortage.
With regard to the pricing, the drug is manufactured by two companies, and is priced at Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,400 per vial. The Rs 4,000 drug is supplied at a discounted price to the government and other hospitals treating Covid-19 cases, and the discount varies (with the cheapest one priced at Rs 2,300).
As the distributors themselves have low stock, there is little scope of getting Remdesivir over the counter at pharmacies. Most of the stocks are supplied only to the hospitals. However, the situation in AP is comparatively better than northern states that are seeing acute increase in Covid cases, but it would go there way if the issues are not resolved at the earliest, the sources said.