India said on Sunday it had banned the export of anti-viral drug Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients as the surge in COVID-19 cases has led to a sharp increase in the domestic demand for the medicine.
“In light of the above, Government of India has prohibited the exports of Injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the situation improves,” the health ministry said in a statement.
"India is witnessing a recent surge in COVID cases. As on March 1, there are 11.08 lakh active COVID cases and they are steadily increasing. This has led to a sudden spike in demand for Injection Remdesivir used in treatment of COVID patients. There is a potential of a further increase in demand for Remdesivir injection in the coming days," the statement added,
Department of Pharmaceuticals has been in contact with domestic manufacturers to ramp up the production of Remdesivir, it further stated.
In its fresh order, it said that all domestic manufactures of Remdesivir advised to display on their website, details of their stockists/distributors to facilitate access to the drug.
"Drugs inspectors and other officers directed to verify stocks and also take measures to curb hoarding and black marketing," it added.
Remdesivir is considered a key anti-viral drug in the fight against COVID-19, especially in adult patients with severe complications.
Seven Indian companies are producing Injection Remdesivir under voluntary licensing agreement with M/s. Gilead Sciences, USA. They have an installed capacity of about 38.80 lakh units per month.