Economy

Remdesivir output up, but supply bottlenecks remain

G Naga Sridhar/TE Raja Simhan/Narayanan V Hyderabad/Chennai | Updated on May 17, 2021

The production of most sought after anti-viral drug, Remdesivir, has increased significantly but its availability continues to be a challenge in some States and private hospitals.

The production capacity of the remdesivir injection by seven domestic manufacturers has increased from 38 lakh vials per month to nearly 119 lakh vials, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers said on Monday.

Developed by US-based Gilead Sciences Inc, Remdesivir is being used to treat Covid-19 patients with oxygen saturation below 95 per cent and those with moderate to severe symptoms. Hyderabad-based Hetero Drugs is a major manufacturer of Remdisivir followed by Cipla, Zydus Cadila, Mylan Labs, Dr Reddy’s Labs, Syngene and Jubilant Ingrevia.

According to the government, after the recent approval given to 38 additional manufacturing sites, from 22 previously, the number of approved manufacturing sites of the drug has increased to 60.

Shortage

“As of now our requirement is 25,000 vials per day but the supply is not adequate. There is a need to increase the allocation,” S Ravi Shankar Narayan, Director-General, Drug Control Administration, Andhra Pradesh told BusinessLine. .

The 2.15 lakh doses allotted to Telangana till May 23 ‘are hardly sufficient’ as many patients from other States are increasingly coming to Hyderabad, said a senior Telangana Government Official. A senior government official said,”It will be freely available after some time. Production is being increased now. As of today Tamil Nadu has less than 10,000 cases on oxygen. Only a small portion of these need Remdesivir.’’

Private

Harish Manian , CEO, MGM Healthcare, Chennai said: ’’ “ We are trying to judiciously use whatever we are getting. We are using it only in moderate cases where the oxygen dependency is over 6 litres so that there is standard clinical protocol being followed, also using oral anti-viral drugs as supportive therapy,’’ he added.

According to a top functionary of a corporate hospital in Hyderabad, there have been delays in supply of allocated vials as well as what is being sourced directly.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories which had introduced a separate call centre and a link on their portal on Remdesivir says: “We regret that there is no available stock for Remdesivir, as of today.” According to Mahesh H Doshi, National President, Indian Drug Manufacturers Association, With supplies improving there should be no shortage of Remdesivir going forward.

Published on May 17, 2021

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