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India to import 4,50,000 vials of Remdesivir

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 30, 2021

First consignment of 75,000 vials to reach today, says Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry

The Centre has started importing the vital drug Remdesivir from other countries to ease out the shortage of this anti-viral drug in the country.

The first consignment of 75,000 vials will reach India today, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers said in a statement on Friday.

HLL Lifecare Ltd, a government company, has ordered 4,50,000 vials of Remdesivir from Gilead Sciences Inc USA and Egyptian pharma company Eva Pharma. It is expected that Gilead Sciences Inc USA will dispatch 75,000 to 1,00,000 vials in the next one or two days, an official release said.

 Further 100,000 vials will also be supplied before or by May 15, it added.

Eva Pharma will supply about 10,000 vials initially followed by 50,000 vials every 15 days or till July.

Remdesivir production

It may be recalled that the government had ramped up production capacity of Remdesivir in the country. As on April 27, the production capacity of the seven licensed domestic manufacturers increased from 38 lakh vials per month to 1.03 crore vials per month. Total 13.73 lakh vials have been supplied across the country by these drug companies in the last seven days ( April 21-28).

The daily supply has gone up from 67,900 vials on April 11 to 2.09 lakh vials on April 28. An advisory was issued by Union Home Ministry to States and UTs to facilitate smooth movement of Remdesivir supplies.

The government had also prohibited the export of Remdesivir to enhance its availability in India. To ensure affordability of the injection among the masses, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had on April 17 released the revised maximum retail price thus bringing down the cost of all the major brands to below ₹3,500 per viral.

Also, the revenue department had on April 20 exempted the whole of the customs duty on Remdesivir injection, its API and beta cyclodextrin used in the manufacture of Remdesivir till October 31 this year.

US relief support

Delhi Customs has in less than a hour swiftly cleared the first emergency Covid-19 relief shipment from the US, which is rushing supplies worth more than $100 million including large oxygen generation systems and raw material for making 20 million vaccine doses to support India’s fight against second wave of Covid-19 infections.

The material covered in the customs clearance are 200 size D oxygen cylinders with regulators, 223 size H oxygen cylinders with regulators, 210 pulse oximeter, 1,84,000 test kits and 84,000 N95 face marks, the Central board of indirect taxes and customs (CBIC) tweeted on Friday.

The first emergency relief shipment has arrived on a US military transport aircraft from Travis Air Force base. Two special flights carrying equipments and supplies are expected to reach India on Friday and third on Monday next, sources said.

This aid is in line with the a pledge made by the US President Joe Biden during a phone conversation with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

A White House statement had said, “Just as India sent assistance to the United States when our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need”.

India is expecting support from over 40 countries mostly in the form of oxygen related equipment and medicines to strengthen its response to the second wave, which is now seeing daily new infections of over 3 lakhs since April 22.

Relief from other countries

Delhi Customs have also facilitated smooth clearance of 157 ventilators, 480 BiPAPs and other medical supplies from the UAE. It had also facilitated swift clearance of Covid material received from Romania covering 80 oxygen concentrators and 75 oxygen cylinders.

Published on April 30, 2021

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