The production of antiviral drug Remdesivir will be ramped up and its prices will be reduced, the government said today after reports of shortage from various parts of the country.
Remdesivir, an injectable drug used for Covid treatment, has been flying off the shelves in many states alongside the rocketing virus cases.
"The government has decided to increase the production, supply and reduce prices of Remdesivir. This will ramp up production capacity for manufacturing to around 80 lakh vials a month. Manufacturers of Remdesivir are to reduce the price to less than Rs 3,500 by the end of this week," said Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
Mr Mandaviya said there was a shortage of Remdesivir in the market because its production was cut down when cases dipped in February.
But now the national drug controller and the Chemicals and Fertilizers Ministry have met with stakeholders and have asked manufacturers to strengthen the production of Remdesivir, the minister said.
States like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have flagged depleting Remdesivir stocks, which, they say, has added to the crisis caused by the record Covid spike in India.
The Centre earlier banned the export of the drug, which was cleared by the drug regulator for restricted use in an emergency situation in June. Remdesivir is being used for the treatment of COVID-19 patients with severe complications.
Yesterday, the government said Remdesivir must be given only to serious Covid cases and should not be used at home. "Remdesivir is to be used only in those who require hospitalisation and are on oxygen support. There is no question of its use in the home setting and for mild cases," said NITI Aayog member VK Paul, flagging "irrational" use of the drug.
"It is an investigational drug. Its role has been clearly defined in the clinical management protocol. There is no question of the use of Remdesivir in home settings. That is unethical. It is only required for hospitalised patients who are on oxygen," Mr Paul said.