Eli Lilly to supply 400,000 tablets of its COVID-19 treatment to India

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FILE PHOTO: An Eli Lilly and Co pharmaceutical manufacturing plant is pictured in Branchburg, New Jersey

(Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co said on Tuesday it would supply 400,000 tablets of its COVID-19 treatment, to be used with Gilead's remdesivir, to the Indian government as the country fights a raging pandemic that has morgues and hospitals overflowing.

With 3.45 million active cases, India recorded 357,229 new infections over the last 24 hours, while deaths rose 3,449 for a toll of 222,408, health ministry data showed. Experts say actual numbers could be five to 10 times higher, however.

The drugmaker said it will work urgently to increase the supply multifold over the coming weeks.

On Monday, India's drug regulator gave emergency use approval to Lilly's treatment, baricitinib, for its use in hospitalized COVID-19 patients requiring supplemental oxygen, invasive mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

The drug will be used in combination with Gilead Sciences's COVID-19 drug remdesivir.

Lilly is offering donations of its rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib for COVID-19 treatment to the Indian government through aid organization Direct Relief.

(Reporting by Dania Nadeem in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)