The Maharashtra government on Thursday decided to cap the price of Remdesivir between Rs 1,100 and Rs 1,400 per vial with Health Minister Rajesh Tope calling for slashing the MRP of the key COVID-19 drug.
He made it clear that the price of a Remdesivir injection should not cross Rs 1,400.
Mr Tope said with a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, the state may need 1.5 lakh Remdesivir injections daily which would require ramping up of production.
The MRP of the anti-viral drug, widely used in treatment of serious coronavirus patients, runs into a few thousands.
Mr Tope said the COVID-19 drug should be available at a rate anywhere between Rs 1,100 and Rs 1,400.
Besides, he warned of a crackdown against stockists hoarding the medicine and asked doctors to be judicious in use of the injection.
He said Remdesivir manufacturers should supply the stock directly to government hospitals.
The stock sent to district collectors will be given to private hospitals as such a system will help to stop black-marketing and hoarding, Mr Tope said.
Mr Tope sought setting up of flying squads in every district to check malpractices in sale of the injection.
He said at present 50,000 vials are being supplied and used on a daily basis in hospitals.
With the active cases shooting beyond the 5-lakh mark in Maharashtra, the demand for the medicine authorised for emergency use to treat COVID-19 has gone up.
“We may need 1.5 lakh injections daily and hence production needs to increase,” he said.
“These are pandemic times, let’s not engage in profiteering, he said.
Mr Tope chaired an online meeting with officials of pharma companies manufacturing Remdesivir.
We are requesting them to give us the necessary stocks. We are also meeting them to fix a price cap between Rs 1,100 to Rs 1,400, he said.
“I am also requesting pharmacists not to hoard and sell (the anti-viral drug) in the blackmarket…the consequence can be severe, the minister said.
He appealed to doctors not to prescribe Remdesivir unless it is necessary.
Let us go as per protocols, he said.
Meanwhile, state FDA minister Rajendra Shingane said Remdesivir stock in government hospitals would last only for seven days to eight days.
We have asked to keep a check and hoarding will not be tolerated, he said.
There have been reports of a shortage and we are taking necessary steps, said Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh.