Gowda reviews availability of COVID treatment drugs

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New Delhi, May 4 (PTI) Union Minister Sadananda Gowda said a meeting was held on Tuesday to review the availability of drugs for COVID-19 treatment and the government is also keeping an eye on the availability of other essential medicines.

Production capacity of antiviral drug Remdesivir is being ramped up by the manufacturers and has increased to 1.03 crore vials per month from 38 lakh vials earlier, the minister of chemicals and fertilisers added.

In a tweet, Gowda said he reviewed availability of drugs for COVID treatment at the meeting.

The pharma secretary, DCGI, NPPA chairperson and joint secretaries of the health ministry, Department of Pharmaceuticals and National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) attended the meeting, Gowda said in the tweet, tagging the Prime Minister's Office.

He also said the government is monitoring availability of other essential drugs.

'Availability of other essential drugs is also being closely monitored. DCGI is undertaking a survey in the market regarding their availability. At present, there is adequate availability of medicines in the market,' Gowda added.

In another tweet, he said,'Allocation of 16.5 lakh vials of Remdesivir has been made to all States for period b/w May 3 & May 9; since April 21, a total allocation of 34.5 lakh vials has been made so far. Efforts will be made to further enhance supply in the coming weeks'.

Demand for Remdesivir has gone up manifold in the country amid a massive spike in COVID infections.

The government has already waived customs duty on Remdesivir, its raw materials and other components used to make the antiviral drug in order to help augment domestic availability and reduce the cost of the injection.

On April 11, in view of increased demand for Remdesivir, the Centre banned the export of the injection and its APIs till the situation improves.

Various drug companies have also cut the prices of Remdesivir injection following intervention of the government.

India's total tally of COVID-19 cases has crossed the 2-crore mark with over 50 lakh infections being added in just 15 days.

The tally rose to 2,02,82,833 with 3,57,229 new infections being reported in a day while the death toll increased to 2,22,408 with 3,449 new fatalities, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Tuesday morning. PTI AKT ABM ABM