Maharashtra will face a shortage of 12,000 to 15,000 Remdesivir injections, used to treat COVID-19 patients, for the next two to three days, state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Minister Rajendra Shingane said on Friday.
He said pharma companies manufacturing Remdesivir have stepped up production but it will take time for the new stock to reach the market.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, "Companies that produce Remdesivir injection have increased their production but it will take some time for the vials to hit the market. If we consider a 10-12 per cent shortage, Maharashtra will continue to face a shortage of 12,000 to 15,000 Remdesivir vials for the next two to three days."
Blaming companies for delay in supply of the much sough-after COVID-19 drug, the FDA minister said, "The heads of Remdesivir-making companies had 15 days back assured me to supply around 55,000 vials of the injection. However, till April 15 these companies could provide only 37,000 to 39,000 vials to the state."
"I held a video conference meeting with the CEOs and MDs of some of the companies that produce Remdesivir today again. These companies have now assured me that supply will be streamlined April 19 onwards," he said.
He lauded the Centre's move to ban the export of Remdesivir.
"Ready stocks of Remdesivir (which were bound for shipments abroad) are available even in Maharashtra. Some of the company representatives met me with a proposal of allowing these stocks to be sold in Maharashtra," Mr Shingane said.
"Maharashtra chief minster Uddhav Thackeray has also issued orders allowing export-bound stocks to be sold in the state (following the ban). I do not know how much such vials are available (with companies)," he said.
He also spoke about companies supplying the medicine to Maharashtra.
Mr Shingane said, "Cipla Ltd and Hetero Labs Ltd have been good in their supplies to Maharashtra right from the beginning. Other companies such as Mylan and Zydus Cadilla Healthcare Ltd also supplied the medicine to some extent. However, supplies from other Remdesivir producers, including Dr Reddy''s Laboratories Ltd, Jubilant Lifesciences and Sun Pharma, were as low as zero in the beginning."
Non-adherence of government and experts advise on judicious use of Remdesivir has caused the current shortage, the minister said.
"Government hospitals in the state did not face any shortage, while private hospitals ignored advise on careful use of Remdesivir," said the FDA minister.