Center clarifies remdesivir, says it’s not a life-saving drug

'Not a drug that saves lives': center clarifies remdesivir

Union Health Ministry says Remdesivir is only “investigational drug” (File)

New Delhi:

Remdesivir is not a life-saving drug and its “unnecessary or irrational” use on Covid patients is unethical, the center tweeted on Monday, amid massive demand for the drug triggered by an outbreak unprecedented cases of coronavirus across the country.

The Union Health Ministry said Remdesivir was an “investigational investigational drug” that had received emergency clearance for use only on moderately ill Covid patients on oxygen in hospitals.

“It should never be administered at home,” he warned.

He added that studies had shown that the drug did not affect death rates.

Earlier today, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria, a member of the national Covid task force, said the drug was “not a quick fix.”

“It is important to understand that this is not a quick fix and it does not reduce mortality. It is used because we do not have a good antiviral drug … Remdesivir has been found to be helpful for those that are in hospitals and on oxygen … it may not have to be taken like a regular antibiotic, ”he said.

India, which is facing the second rapid wave of infections, today reported more than 2 cases of lakh coronavirus for the fifth day in a row. Prior to that, he had regularly reported over a lakh of daily cases.

Health infrastructure in several hard-hit states is collapsing under pressure from the number of Covid cases. Serious shortages of hospital beds, medical oxygen and drugs – especially Remdesivir – have been reported across the country.

Social media is inundated with messages from family members and friends of Covid patients asking for help in acquiring the drug. Some reports suggest that the prices of Remdesivir have skyrocketed on the black market.

Amid the gap between supply and demand, the center banned the export of the drug.

Currently, seven Indian companies are producing Remdesivir under a voluntary license agreement with Gilead Sciences, USA. They have a production capacity of 38.80 lakh units per month.

The center, however, decided to speed up production of the drug.

To ensure that more people can get Remdesivir, the government said last month that the makers of Remdesivir have been asked to post contact details of their stockists and distributors on their website.

Drug inspectors and other officers have been urged to check inventory, check for malpractice and stop hoarding and black marketing, he added.