Maharashtra is planning to procure 10,000 vials of remdesivir, an anti-viral drug that is being tried globally on patients with severe COVID-19. Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Saturday said the drug would be procured with nearly ₹12 crore in CSR funds.
Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum anti-viral injection, was earlier tried for Ebola. It was approved by the Drug Controller-General of India early this week for “restricted emergency use”. Currently, its safety and efficacy in the treatment of COVID-19 are being tested in phase-three clinical trials. “We are reaching out to all the companies that have received the licence to make the drug. We will be procuring it from the company that offers it at the lowest rates,” said T.P. Lahane, head of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER).
The U.S.-based Gilead Sciences that has made the drug has signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five generic pharmaceutical manufacturers — Cipla Ltd., Ferozsons Laboratories, Hetero Labs Ltd., Jubilant Lifesciences and Mylan — based in India and Pakistan to expand supply of the drug. The company hopes to make it available in July.