Andhra govt denies allegations of administering expired Remdesivir injections

The TDP alleged that the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government is administering COVID-19 patients with expired remdesivir injection in Andhra Pradesh.
A man showing the expiry date on the vial
A man showing the expiry date on the vial
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On June 3, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) alleged a ‘drug scam’ in Andhra Pradesh after it found that the Narsipatnam Government Hospital allegedly endangered the lives of COVID-19 patients by administering expired remdesivir injections. The Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP government, however, has denied the allegations, stating that the Drugs Control General of India (DCGI) had extended the shelf life of the drug from six months to 12 months earlier this year. Remdesivir is widely used to treat COVID-19 patients, although it is not a life-saving drug.

In a series of tweets, under the hashtag ‘RemedesivirScamByAPGovt’, the TDP alleged that the Jagan-led government is claiming the lives of ‘thousands of people’ by giving expired medicines. The party also shared a video, wherein a few drug vials had another sticker pasted over the portion that shows the batch number, manufacturing and expiry dates. This led to doubts among the patients, and soon the videos went viral.

The government, however, said, “The claim that expired remdesivir injections are being administered in Narsipatnam Hospital is completely false. Remdesiver is a new injection. After examining the study conducted by the manufacturers, the DCGI had approved the extension of its shelf life up to 12 months. Following this, the manufacturers printed the extended time and the same batch number, on the injections.”

The official Fact Check wing of the Andhra Pradesh government said, “Hiding this fact, some have been deliberately misleading people as expired injections. Please be aware.” 

According to officials, the DCGI had initially given instructions to the manufacturer to fix shelf life and expiry date as six months based on the stability studies submitted earlier by the manufacturer. After subsequent stability studies carried out by the manufacturers, the DCGI had approved the manufacturers to extend the shelf life and expiry date upto 12 months.

On January 15, the DCGI had written to pharmaceutical company Mylan Laboratories, asking them to extend the shelf life of remdesivir and fix the expiry date to 12 months instead of six months. The DCGI said that the sticker on the vial should read as: “12 months with storage condition - to store Remdesivir for injection 100 mg/vial (lyophilized) below 30° until for required use.” In July 2020, the DCGI had granted permission to the company to manufacture and market remdesivir for 'restricted emergency use' for COVID-19 patients who are hospitalised. 

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