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‘Steps taken to boost supply of Covid drugs across States/UTs’

Legal Correspondent New Delhi | Updated on May 10, 2021

But govt informs SC that availability of raw materials for Remdesivir remains a challenge

 

The government has informed the Supreme Court that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Department of Pharmaceuticals have jointly undertaken to allocate available supplies of Covid-19 drugs, Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, across States and Union Territories in view of the surge in demand.

The Centre said the Health Ministry, with the support of the DoP and Ministry of External Affairs, is “making all efforts to enhance availability of Remdesivir through ramping up of production and sourcing through imports”.

However, the government said there are constraints on the availability of raw materials and other essential inputs for Remdesivir. It said mere addition of more production capacity may not lead to the desired outcomes of enhanced supplies. “It is difficult to predict the trend of the pandemic and, therefore, difficult to forecast the demand for Remdesivir with a reasonable degree of certainty. Therefore, it is communicated that the matter of sending the proposal for invocation of the provisions of Section 100 (for government use) of the Patents Act, 1970, is being processed,” said the government.

It also said the prices of Remdesivir have gone down by 25 per cent to 50 per cent.

In case of Remdesivir, the Centre said a total of 34.50 lakh vials were allocated for the April 21 to May 9 period, against which 33.96 lakh vials were supplied till May 7.

In the case of Tocilizumab, as the country is entirely dependent on imports, out of the limited stock of vials imported on April 26, 3,245 vials were allocated to States the next day and an additional allocation of 6,655 vials was done on April 30 to States. Another 1,200 vials have been kept for central allocation by the Health Ministry.

“It is stated that about 6,478 vials have been supplied till May 7. The efforts are under way to procure, import more Tocilizumab,” the government assured.

Special investigation

The government said DCGI has instructed State Drugs Controllers (SDCs) to conduct special investigation drive to prevent hoarding/black marketing of Remdesivir. The government said there would be zero tolerance to any kind of hoarding/ black marketing of drugs.

Published on May 10, 2021

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