The decision was taken considering a sudden spike in demand for remdesivir, which is used in treatment of Covid-19 patients, a Health and Family Welfare Ministry statement said.
Noting India has 11.08 lakh active Covid cases as on Sunday amid an increasing trend, the Ministry said: “There is a potential of further increase in demand of injection remdesivir and remdesivir active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) in the coming days.”
“In light of the above increasing Covid cases, Government of India has prohibited the exports of injection remdesivir and remdesivir active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) till the situation improves.”
Seven Indian companies are producing injection remdesivir under voluntary licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences, US. They have an installed capacity of about 38.80 lakh units per month.
In addition, the Central government has taken several steps to ensure easy access of hospital and patients to remdesivir.
As part of its effort, it has advised all domestic manufactures of remdesivir to display details of their stockists or distributors on their websites to facilitate access to the drug.
“Drugs inspectors and other officers have been directed to verify stocks and check malpractices and also take other effective actions to curb hoarding and black marketing,” the Ministry said.
“The state Health Secretaries will review this with the Drug Inspectors of the respective states and Union Territories (UTs). The Department of Pharmaceuticals has been in contact with the domestic manufacturers to ramp up the production of remdesivir.”
The Centre has also advised states that the “National Clinical Management Protocol for Covid-19”, developed after many interactions by Committee of Experts, is the guiding document for treatment of Covid-19 patients and lists remdesivir as an investigational therapy, where informed and shared decision making is essential, besides taking note of contra indications mentioned in the detailed guidelines.
The states and UTs have been advised that these steps should again be communicated to all hospitals, both in public and private sector, and compliance monitored.