Maharashtra Awaits Court Nod for Use of 5,000 Seized Remdesivir Vials

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Even as Maharashtra is locked in a tussle with the Centre over the supply of Remdesivir medicine used in the treatment of coronavirus patients, around 5,000 vials of this anti-viral drug seized by the state agencies are lying unused pending court's permission. These vials were seized during the raids conducted by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and the police department in different parts of Maharashtra in March and April, an official said.

"Around 5,000 vials of Remdesivir were seized during the raids. However, we cannot put these vials to use as only court can grant permission for that," the senior FDA official said. "After the seizure, we have to gather evidence, frame charges and produce the seized stock before the court. The case has to be very strong for the state to win it. Only then, these vials can be used for COVID-19 patients," he said.

When asked about it, a health official said that Remdesivir has to be used during particular period of infection. Generally, it does not work on the patients who have completed at least six days of infection. The medicine has no efficacy if administered so late, he said.

"If we do not get to use this stock of seized vials, we cannot prevent the condition of some COVID-19 patients from getting worse," he said. During a virtual meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, had said that the state should get Remdesivir supply based on the number of patients it has.

Maharashtra needs 70,000 vials of Remdesivir everyday but is getting only 27,000, and it should be allowed to import the medicine, he had said. Talking about it, the health department official said it was unlikely that the Centre will increase the state's allocation as other parts of the country were also showing a surge in coronavirus cases.

Maharashtra on Friday reported 66,836 new coronavirus cases, which took the caseload to 41,61,676, while the death toll mounted to 63,252 with 773 fatalities.

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