No price set for Remdesivir in India as it isn't 'drug'

NPPA unable to put fixed price tag on Remdesivir in India as it isn’t notified as a ‘drug’: Report

Representative image: iStock Photo

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPP) hasn't yet set a cap for the antiviral medication Remdesivir as it still hasn't been notified as a 'drug'.

The loophole has left a gap for the black marketeers to sell the expensive treatment for 10 times the price, according to a report by The Economic Times. 

The Health Ministry in June included the use of Remdesivir (for restricted emergency use purposes) for treating Covid-19 patients in moderate stage of the illness as “investigational therapies" in the updated Clinical Management Protocol for Covid-19. It hasn't been classified as a drug. 

"These drugs (remdesivir and tocilizumab) have still not been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and are only permitted for restricted Emergency Use for Covid-19," the ICMR had said on July 11. 

Prices of only those drugs that have been defined under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act can be controlled by the NPPA. The DCGI, on the other hand, has said that Remdesivir cannot be notified as a drug as yet, said the report.

Follow latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic here

“All other countries have approved it as an investigational therapy and since it is at an experimental stage right now, it cannot be approved as a drug,” a government official told the publication.

Hetero, Cipla and Mylan and Jubilant Generics Ltd have been given permission by the CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) to manufacture and market Remdesivir in India. 

The LocalCircles, a community social media platform, had earlier in its letter to the Centre said that it received many posts and comments from citizens across India on its platform about the alleged black marketing of Remdesivir.

"The MRP of Remdesivir marketed by Hetero Healthcare Limited is Rs 5,400 but consumers have reported it being sold at a price of anywhere between Rs 15,000 to 60,000," the LocalCircles said.

In a survey conducted by LocalCircles, which received 8,329 responses, 93% consumers from 233 districts across India said the drug inspectors should be directed to act against such black marketing of the Remdesivir, which at this point in time, could be termed as a life-saving drug, the letter mentioned.

(With inputs from PTI)

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox