Indian government bans export of anti-viral drug Remdesivir amid surge in Covid-19 cases

Remdesivir injection is being used in the treatment of Covid-19 patients and the demand for the anti-viral drug is to increase in the coming days.

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Indian government has banned the export of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir amid the spike in Covid-19 cases in the country. In an order issued by the centre, export of Remdesivir injection and Remdesivir active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) has been banned till the pandemic situation in the country stabilises, reported the news agency ANI.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the government said that the rise in Covid-19 cases has ultimately led to the sudden spike in demand for Remdesivir injection – used in the treatment of Covid patients and the demand is to increase in the coming days.

“India is witnessing a recent surge in Covid-19 cases. As of April 11, there are 11.08 lakh active Covid-19 cases and they are steadily increasing. This has led to a sudden spike in demand for injection Remdesivir used in the treatment of Covid-19 patients. There is a potential of a further increase in this demand in the coming days,” the government said in a statement.

Remdesivir is being produced by seven Indian companies under a voluntary licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences, US and they have an installed capacity of about 38.80 lakh units per month.

The government said manufacturers of Remdesivir have been asked to show on their website the details of their stockists and distributors, to ensure more people can get Remdesivir.

Drugs inspectors and other officers have been directed by the centre to verify stocks, check any malpractice and stop hoarding and black marketing.

The ANI report further quoted a statement issued by the government saying, “The Department of Pharmaceuticals has been in contact with the domestic manufacturers to ramp up the production of Remdesivir,”

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 in a statement on Sunday.

Several states in India have reported a surge in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, prompting them to consider micro lockdowns and bringing back restrictions.

India’s vaccination regime has been going ahead at full speed, however, a few states have complained of low stock of vaccines and some are even complaining they have almost run out of it.

India registered 1,52,879 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours and the caseload has seen an unprecedented spike to 1,33,58,805, while the active cases breached the 11-lakh mark for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.