Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilisers, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, on Wednesday reviewed the availability of drugs for Covid treatment and other essential medicines.
Gowda said that 16.5 lakh vials of Remdesivir have been allocated to all the states between May 3 and May 9, adding that since April 21, a total allocation of 34.5 lakh vials has been made to the states.
Allocation to the states is a dynamic process and efforts will be made to further enhance supply in the coming weeks, he said.
During the meeting, Gowda appreciated the efforts of all the seven manufacturers of Remdesivir for increasing the production capacity to 1.03 crore vials per month, up from 38 lakh vials per month a month ago. This increased capacity will augment the domestic availability of the injection.
Availability of other essentials drugs was also discussed during the meeting. Gowda stressed on the need to continuously monitor the availability of other essential medicines and to check instances of black marketing and hoarding.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) informed the meeting that a survey is being undertaken to ascertain the availability of various medicines in the market.
Preliminary findings suggest that at present, there is adequate availability of medicines in the market and the Department of Pharma, NPPA and the CDSCO will continue to closely monitor their availability.
Regarding black marketing and hoarding of essential medical supplies, the DGCI conveyed that the state drugs controllers (SDCs) have been instructed to make teams for field inspections, adding that strict actions are being taken against hoarding and black marketing of drugs.
A number of preventive and enforcement actions have been taken by the DCGI/SDCs to stop hoarding/ black marketing/ overcharging of Covid management drugs like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, Favipiravir etc.
Till May 1, as many as 78 actions were taken all over India, in coordination with SDCs, local police, FDA etc. for hoarding, overcharging and black marketing of essential drugs.
Seizures of drugs, vehicles, empty vials (meant probably for making spurious drugs) and cash were made. In one case in Chandigarh, Remdesivir vials to the tune of 3,000 units were recovered.
Gowda lauded the pharma companies and officers of the Department of Pharma, NPPA, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and CDSCO for their coordinated efforts and close cooperation in ramping up availability of drugs for Covid treatment and other essential drugs within the shortest possible time. Such close collaboration between the government and the private sector is the need of the hour, he said.