India mostly wants oxygen, remdesivir from other countries

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on April 28, 2021

Gurugram: Family members of Covid-19 patients wait to fill their empty cylinders with medical oxygen outside an oxygen filling center, as demand for the gas rises due to spike in coronavirus cases, at Oxygen Plant in IDC, Gurugram, Wednesday, April 28   -  PTI

Many nations donating supplies but New Delhi also ready to pay, say sources

India is mainly looking at procuring oxygen and crucial medicines, particularly remdesivir, from other countries to tide over the acute shortage of these essential items in the wake of a surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths, sources have said.

“We are ready to pay for these essential items but many nations have offered to donate which we have accepted,” a source tracking the matter told BusinessLine.

Many countries are also willing to supply items such as ventilators, PPE kits and masks, which are not priority items for India, and the high level group set up by the government to clear imports will decide, the source added.

Helping hand

Countries that have already started sending supplies or would do so shortly include France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UAE, Mauritius, Singapore and Thailand.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday on the pandemic situation and Russia, too, is expected to send supplies shortly.

The focus is on importing oxygen concentrators that are the easiest to procure. “Oxygen is bulky. So the one way it can be imported is in liquid form through ships. We are trying to get some from Saudi Arabia but it is not the easiest way to get supplies. India’s focus is on procuring large numbers of oxygen concentrators and it is also looking at oxygen generating plants,” the source said.

De,amd for oxygen containers

Small and medium oxygen cylinders and liquid oxygen tanks are the other items on the import list as these are crucial for transporting and distributing oxygen within the country.

“While Gilead, which holds the patent for Remdesivir, has agreed to donate 4.5 lakh vials to India, it will not be enough and India is trying to procure the drug from countries which have been authorised by the company to produce it,” the source said.

Other medicines that the country wants to import are Tocilizumab and Favipiravir. India is also in talks with the US for procurement of vaccine raw material and hopes to benefit when Washington takes a decision on sharing about 60 million doses of AstraZeneca with other countries, as they become available over the next two months.

Published on April 28, 2021

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