- The All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists expects availability to increase by April 10
- Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the is receiving 50,000 vials of Remdesivir daily
- Supply of Remdesivir is short although 36,000 vials have been procured in Mumbai said BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal
As India witnesses a surge in Covid-19 cases, Remdesivir – a key drug in the treatment of Covid-19 positive patients – is facing a supply chain bottleneck. States like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab which are clocking in a high number of cases everyday are facing uneven supply of Remdesivir vials. But what exactly is causing this mismatch in supply and demand at a time when the situation is dire?
Rajiv Singhal, General Secretary of the All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) said, “As cases dropped in the beginning of the year, the demand for Remdesivir was low. Hence companies started slow manufacturing or manufactured in batches. Companies ramped up manufacturing after March 10 when cases started to surge. But from what we are picking up from the manufacturers of Remdesivir, the product has to be kept in a bubble for 18 to 20 days before it can hit the market That is causing a bottleneck currently.”
Singhal added that the situation should normalise soon as per his assessment. “The stock will start hitting the market by April 10 as all companies have increased capacities,” he added.
In a situation where a vital drug is in short supply, concerns of overpricing and black marketing of products have started to rise. Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Eknath Shinde has asked authorities to ensure that there is no black marketing of Remdesvir.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “The price of Remdesivir is to be capped between Rs 1,100 to 1,400 per dose. The state is getting 50,000 doses of Remdesivir daily, and that exact capacity is being used up everyday.”
The situation in the city of Mumbai though seems to be under control as per Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal. “As far as Mumbai is concerned 36,000 vials of Remdesivir are available for us today. We floated a tender for 60,000 which is opening today, another tender for two lakh Remdesivir vials will be floated day after tomorrow,” he said.
Although, Chahal says we may have to deal with a shortage soon. “We have been talking to the manufacturers, and I must admit that there are some issues in the supply chain and the supply is short. So in the coming days, we may have to grapple with that.”
ET Now reached out to the top two Remdesivir manufacturers in India – Zydus Cadila and Cipla. While Zydus Cadila has not yet responded to our query, a Cipla spokesperson said, “We have serviced all orders and are in the process to optimise supplies further”.
As per AIOCD, all state governments, as well as the centre, are in discussion with manufacturers to ensure ample availability as the need grows, and the drug is also likely to be made available via chemist channels to make procurement easier.