The Centre announced on Saturday that because the manufacturing of Remdesivir has outstripped demand, it would no longer distribute the antiviral medicine to states centrally. The country’s overall Covid-19 situation has stabilised in recent days, with 1.73 lakh new Covid-19 infections recorded on Saturday, the lowest number in 45 days.
Between April 11 and May 29, Mansukh Mandaviya, Union minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers, stated Remdesivir manufacturing was increased by tenfold, from 33,000 to 3.5 lakh vials per day. Instead of 20 plants, there are now 60 plants making Remdesivir, contributing to the drug’s surplus production. While the drug’s availability across the country will be monitored, the Centre will build a store of 50 lakh Remdesivir vials in case of an emergency.
There was an extreme shortage of Remdesivir across the country during the peak of the second wave of the epidemic in April. The medicine, which should only be used in extreme instances, was hoarded and black-marketed, adding to the shortage.
Remdesivir is a patented medicine that was advised as an exploratory therapeutic treatment for Covid-19 patients who were experiencing acute or severe symptoms. This medication should only be given to patients who are on oxygen. Remdesivir is manufactured in India by seven pharmaceutical companies: Cipla, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Hetero, Jubilant Pharma, Mylan, Syngene, and Zydus Cadila under voluntary licences granted by Gilead Life Sciences USA, the company which holds the patent of Remdesivir.