India has banned export of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. In an order, the government said it has banned export of Remdesivir injection and Remdesivir active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) till the pandemic situation in the country stabilises.
"India is witnessing a recent surge in Covid cases. As on April 11, there are 11.08 lakh active Covid cases and they are steadily increasing. This has led to a sudden spike in demand for injection Remdesivir used in treatment of Covid patients. There is a potential of further increase in this demand in the coming days," the government said in a statement.
Seven Indian companies are producing Remdesivir under voluntary licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences, US. They have an installed capacity of about 38.80 lakh units per month.
To ensure more people can get Remdesivir, the government said manufactures of Remdesivir have been asked to show on their website the details of their stockists and distributors.
Drugs inspectors and other officers have been asked to verify stocks, check any malpractice and stop hoarding and black marketing.
"The Department of Pharmaceuticals has been in contact with the domestic manufacturers to ramp up the production of Remdesivir," the government said.
The National Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19 lists Remdesivir as an investigational therapy, where informed and shared decision making is essential.
"The states and UTs (Union Territories) have been advised that these steps should again be communicated to all hospitals, both in public and private sector, and compliance monitored," the government said.
Several states have been reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, prompting them to consider micro lockdowns and bringing back restrictions. Though India's vaccination drive is going ahead in full speed, several states have complained of low stock of vaccines and some are even complaining they have almost run out of it.