Pharmaceutical companies manufacturing the anti-COVID medicine Remdesivir in India have voluntarily slashed prices following government intervention, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) under the Department of Pharmaceuticals announced on Saturday. The authority declared change in prices for seven brands of Remdesivir injections of potency 100mg per vial.
According to an office memoradum by NPPA dated April 17, 2021, the prices have been slashed in the range of Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,700. After the price cuts, Cadila Healthcare's Remdac continues to be the cheapest Remdesivir injection at Rs 899. The injection was earlier being sold at Rs 2,800.
RemWin by Bharat Biologics India's Syngene International is now available at Rs 2,450 instead of Rs 3,950. Redyx by Dr Reddy's Laboratories will now cost Rs 2,700, half of its earlier price of Rs 5,400. Cipla has slashed the price for its Cipremi to Rs 3,000 from Rs 4,000.
Mylan Pharmaceutical has revised the price for its Remdesivir injection Desrem to Rs 3,400 from Rs 4,800. Jubilant Generics has reduced the price of its offering, Jubi-R, to Rs 3,400 from Rs 4,700. Hetero Healthcare will sell its Remdesivir injection Covifor at Rs 3,490 instead of Rs 5,400.
Although being approved as an investigational drug for strict use under hospital conditions, Remdesivir has seen a surge in demand over the recent few days in India as the second wave of COVID-19 cases is sweeping across the country. With this increase in demand, central government has been trying to ramp up the production of the drug as well as reduce its prices. Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya had held meetings with drug manufacturers and other stakeholders on April 12 and 13 in which decisions were taken to increase production and reduce prices of Remdesivir.
"The current total installed capacity of the seven manufacturers of Remdesivir is 38.80 lakh vials per month. Fast-track approval has been given for seven additional sites having production capacity of 10 lakh vials per month to six manufacturers. Another 30 lakh vials per month production is lined up. This would ramp up the production capacity for manufacturing to around 78 lakh vials per month," a government statement said.
Earlier this week, 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. It further added that the drug must be given only to hospitalised patients who are low on oxygen, and should not be used in home conditions.
To add to the woes of patients, the rise in demand has also led to blackmarketing and fabrication of the drug.
(Edited by Vivek Punj)
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