Remdesivir injection to cost under Rs 3,500; production to double
Days after the Union government banned the export of Remdesivir, approvals have been given for stepping up Remdesivir manufacturing capacity to around 78 lakh vials per month. Remdesivir manufacturers have also volunteered to reduce the price of the anti-viral drug to less than Rs 3,500 by the weekend.
The demand for anti-viral drug Remdesivir has shot through the roof in the last few weeks as the number of Covid positive cases surged across the country.
The drug, currently in limited supply, offers marginal benefits especially to patients who need low flow oxygen. It is believed to prevent replication of the virus. The shortage of the high-value drug has resulted in black-marketing of the medication.
People are being forced to run from pillar to post, some even shelling out up to Rs 10,000 for Remdesivir. To counter this, Remdesivir manufacturers have volunteered to reduce the price of the anti-viral drug to less than Rs 3,500 by the weekend.
At present, Zydus Cadila has slashed the price of a 100 mg vial to Rs 899 from the prevailing Rs 2,800. As for other firms, Cipla so far charged Rs 4,000 for a 100 mg vial, Hetero Rs 5,400 a vial, Dr Reddy's Lab Rs 5,400 a vial, Mylan Rs 4,800 a vial and Jubilant Rs 4,700 a vial.
Days after the Union government banned the export of Remdesivir, approvals have been given for stepping up Remdesivir manufacturing capacity to nearly 78 lakh vials every month. The current installed capacity of seven manufacturers of Remdesivir is 38.80 lakh vials per month.
'Use Remdesivir judiciously'
The Centre has appealed to hospitals to use the drug judiciously. On Wednesday, Niti Aayog member VK Paul called Remdesivir an investigational drug that is only required for hospitalised patients who are on oxygen. It was further clarified that the use of Remdesivir in home-setting is unethical.
Calling the lines for procuring the drug a distortion, VK Paul made it a point to clarify that Remdesivir can only be supplied to a hospital, not a chemist shop.
Remdesivir is not a miracle cure
According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence yet to suggest that the anti-viral drug is absolutely useful in treating hospitalised Covid-19 patients. Neither does it help reduce mortality nor eliminate the need for mechanical ventilation among hospitalised patients.
Remdesivir is administered to obstruct the stage of virus replication.
The possible side effects of the anti-viral drug include increased levels of liver enzymes, allergic reactions, blood pressure and heart rate fluctuations, low oxygen blood levels, fever, wheezing, rash, nausea, sweating and shivering.