New Delhi: In total, 18,040 oxygen concentrators, 19,085 oxygen cylinders and nearly 7.7 lakh remdesivir vials received as aid from abroad have been delivered or dispatched to states and Union Territories from April 27 to May 28 amid the second wave of COVID-19 infection, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.
The Government of India has been receiving COVID-19 relief in form of medical supplies and equipment since April 27 from different countries and organisations. These are being promptly dispatched and delivered to the states and UTs, it said.
Cumulatively, 18,040 oxygen concentrators, 19,085 oxygen cylinders, 19 oxygen generation plants, 15,256 ventilators and BiPAP, around 7.7 lakh remdesivir vials and nearly 12 lakh favipiravir tablets have been delivered and dispatched through road and air from April 27 to May 28.
Major consignments received on May 26 and 28 from Turkey, Indian Business Association (Taiwan), Roche (Switzerland) and Eli Lily include 20 oxygen concentrators, five oxygen concentrator plants, 680 oxygen cylinders, 50,000 tocilizumab, 20,000 Baricitinib, 50 ventilators, Bi-PAP and CPAP.
The ministry said this also includes 680 oxygen cylinders received from Turkey, which have some compliance issues, hence they have been withheld at a warehouse.
Effective immediate allocation, and streamlined delivery to the recipient states and UTs and institutions is an ongoing exercise, the ministry said, adding it is comprehensively monitoring this on a regular basis.
A dedicated cell has been created in the Union Health Ministry to coordinate the receipt and allocation of foreign Covid relief material as international cooperation in the form of grants, aid and donations. This cell started functioning from April 26.
A standard operating procedure for this has been framed and implemented by the Health Ministry since May 2.
Centre Stops Allocation Of Remdesivir To States As Supply Improves
Meanwhile, the Centre has stopped allocation of antiviral drug Remdesivir to states as the supply of the critical medication has surpassed the demand, Union Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya said on Saturday.
"Now the country has enough #Remdesivir as the supply is much more than the demand. So we have decided to DISCONTINUE the Central Allocation of Remdesivir to States," Mandaviya said in a tweet.
The Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers noted that the supply of the drug, which is being used to treat COVID-19, has been ramped up over ten times from just 33,000 vials a day on April 11, 2021 to 3,50,000 vials per day currently.
The government has also increased the number of plants producing Remdesivir from just 20 to 60 plants within a month, he added.
Besides, the Centre has decided to procure 50 lakh vials of Remdesivir to maintain it as a strategic stock for emergency requirement, Mandaviya said.
"But I have also directed @nppa_india & @CDSCO_INDIA_INF to continuously monitor the availability of Remdesivir in the country," he noted.
In order to improve supply, the government has already waived customs duty on Remdesivir, its raw materials and other components used in making the antiviral drug in order to help augment domestic availability and reduce the cost of the injection.
On April 11, in view of increased demand for Remdesivir, the Centre banned the export of the injection and its active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) till the situation improves.
Various drug companies have also cut the prices of Remdesivir injection following intervention of the government.