India to ramp up remdesivir production, make it cheaper

The current production of Remdesivir in India is 38.80 lakh vials per month. This will be ramped up to around 78 lakh vials per month.
Representational image of Remdesivir
Representational image of Remdesivir
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Amid reports of shortage of the COVID-19 drug remdesivir, the Union government has ramped up the production and supply, and has decided to reduce the cost of the drug. The government has said that the current total installed capacity of the seven manufacturers of Remdesivir is 38.80 lakh vials per month. The government has fast-tracked approvals to six manufacturers to set up seven additional sites with a production capacity of 10 lakh vials per month. “Another 30 lakh vials per month production is lined up, this would ramp up the production capacity for manufacturing to around 78 lakh vials per month, the release by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers said. 

Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State, For Chemicals & Fertilizers had held a meeting with manufacturers last month as COVID-19 cases began to rise across the country. The demand for remdesivir has risen and areas in multiple states, including Maharashtra, reported shortages. Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that was earlier developed to fight against Ebola and hepatitis. Remdesivir helps to shorten recovery time for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and is being used in combination with other drugs in the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms.

A few days ago, amid the surging demand, the Indian government banned the export of the injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the situation improves. Remdesivir supplies of approximately 4 lakh vials, which were meant for export, were diverted by manufacturers to fulfil the domestic requirements.

Now, the government has said that manufacturers of Remdesivir have volunteered to reduce the price to less than Rs 3,500 by the end of this week. Manufacturers of Remdesivir have been directed to give priority to fulfil hospital or institutional level supplies. State governments have also been asked to check black-marketing, hoarding and overcharging of Remdesivir.

The Union Health Ministry had last week also asked all domestic manufactures of Remdesivir to display on their website, details of their stockists/distributors to facilitate access to the drug.

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