Amid reports of shortage of antiviral drug Remdesivir, the centre on Wednesday announced that the production capacity of Remdesivir injections is being ramped up from the current level of 38 lakh vials per month to 74 lakh vials per month.
It also said that 20 additional manufacturing sites have been approved.
The Union health ministry in coordination with the Department of Pharmaceuticals has made an interim allocation of Remdesivir for 19 states and Union territories (UTs) for the period up to April 30, to further address reports of shortage of the drug in certain regions of the country and facilitate its smooth inter-state supply.
“Remdesivir being an investigational therapy drug given in acute and severe versions of COVID-19 where oxygen support is a must, this allocation pertains to 14 states/UTs, including Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, to which medical oxygen is allocated, and five other states where high volume of supplies is being observed,” the ministry said in a statement.
Keeping in mind the sudden surge in demand for Remdesivir injections, the manufacturing capacity of domestic Remdesivir manufacturers has been ramped up, it said.
“All support is being extended to manufacturers by the government in this endeavour. The production capacity is being ramped up from current level of 38 lakh vials per month to 74 lakh vials per month, and 20 additional manufacturing sites have been approved. Export of Remdesivir has also been prohibited on 11th April in order to shore up domestic supplies,” the ministry said.
The allocation includes bulk purchases made by the states as well as supplies through private distribution channels.
Several states and UTs have reported acute shortage of Remdesivir and raised the issue with the Centre.
The ministry said this initial allocation is dynamic and will be reviewed constantly in consultation with the states/UTs to ensure all needs can be met within the available supplies.
It said the manufacturers have been advised to consider supply orders already made to them, geographical proximity with a state and terms of supply, and give inputs for mapping of manufacturers to states for the allocated volumes.
“Manufacturers have been directed to manufacture and dispatch the supplies as per the agreed state allocation and mapping. They may be asked to balance supplies to the government and distribution channel. All states may place their supply orders to manufacturers, if not already done, either by government purchase or distribution channel, within the above-mentioned state-wise allocation and manufacturer-wise mapping,” the ministry said.
It further said that in case any state does not require or is unable to fully utilise its allocation before April 30, that would be available for reallocation to other states as per their requirement.
“The states may immediately appoint state nodal officers for Remdesivir who will be responsible for unrestricted and timely movement of the drug within their states as per the above-mentioned allocation and mapping,” the statement said.
The control room set up by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) shall be responsible for monitoring the operations as per the allocations.
A WhatsApp group comprising nodal officers of states to coordinate unhindered movement of Remdesivir within the country is being created. Liaison Officers of Remdesivir manufacturers and officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Pharmaceuticals, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) will be part of this group for day-to-day monitoring and coordination,” the ministry added.