India has banned the export of remdesivir and its ingredients in an attempt to address the shortage(AFP / File Photo)
India has banned the export of remdesivir and its ingredients in an attempt to address the shortage(AFP / File Photo)

Government calls for rational remdesivir application

  • Remdesivir, an injection, continues to be used in India despite WHO recommending against its use, on the grounds that there is no evidence that it works.
By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 14, 2021 02:14 AM IST

There is no shortage of remdesivir, a key antiviral drug used to treat Covid-19 patients, Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul said on Tuesday, even as he urged people to use the drug rationally.

“There were reports of shortages in some states but overall there is no shortage of the drug. There are plenty of stocks available,” he added.

“There is no question of using remdesvir in home settings for Covid-19 patients. The patient has to be on oxygen therapy, and the drug is supposed to be supplied only to hospitals and not to be sold in retail. I urge people for rational use of the drug. It is not meant for everyone,” said Paul, while addressing the Union health ministry’s weekly briefing on Covid-19.

Remdesivir, an injection, continues to be used in India despite WHO recommending against its use, on the grounds that there is no evidence that it works.

However, the drug continues to be on India’s National Clinical Management Protocol for Covid-19, and with active cases crossing a million, and hospitalisations soaring, many Indians have begun seeing the drug as a lifesaver, causing demand to spike. There is also believed to be black-marketing of the drug, several generic versions of which are being made in India, including one for less than 1,000.

India has banned the export of remdesivir and its ingredients in an attempt to address the shortage — brought about, in part, by hoarding and indiscriminate use.

Cipla, one of the local manufacturers of the drug said it was working with the regulatory authorities to restrict supply of the drug only to hospital channels, and especially those regions with high burden of severe Covid-19.

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