Amid the current surge in the number of coronavirus cases, several states have reported a shortage of anti-viral drug Remdesivir. The Health Ministry urged hospitals to use the drug judiciously and rationally. The ministry said that Remdesivir should be supplied only to hospitals and not to chemists or patients. The ministry said that the drug must be given only to hospitalised patients who are low on oxygen.
"It is an investigational drug. Its role has been clearly defined in the clinical management protocol. There is no question of the use of Remdesivir in home settings. That is unethical. It is only required for those hospitalised patients who are on oxygen. That is the pre-condition," said NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul.
"There have been reports of shortages but there have been improvements. It can only be supplied to a hospital, not a chemist shop to be procured by a patient. The lines for procurement are a distortion... We request rationale and judicious use of Remdesivir," he said.
The ministry has recommended the use of Remdesivir in patients in moderate stages of illness in its 'Clinical Management Protocols for COVID-19'. The drug has been restricted for emergency use purposes.
The second wave of coronavirus has witnessed an unprecedented demand for Remdesivir injection. The Indian Medical Association said that this is leading to a situation of artificial panic. "This is resulting because of the non-judicious use of this drug in many places beyond the scope of its evidenced-based benefits. The public as well the medical community must be aware of the absolute indication of the drug and needs to use it judiciously so that the drug is used for those patients who will be benefitted," said the association in a statement.
India has banned the export of Remdesivir injection and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in view of the sudden spike in cases.
Meanwhile, several states have flagged the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines as well. The government said that there is no shortage and called for better management of cold chain points.