The government’s decision to waive off customs duty on antiviral drug Remdesivir would help in augmenting the supply of the medicine in the wake of soaring COVID-19 cases in the country, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Sadanand Gowda said on Wednesday. The government on Tuesday waived off all customs duty on imported Remdesivir injections and the drug’s active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) in order to boost supplies. There is already a ban on the export of the Remdesivir injection from the country.
“Considering the immediate requirement on the recommendation of the Department of Pharmaceuticals, the Department of Revenue has reduced customs duty on #Remdesivir and its API/KSM. This step will further augment domestic availability of Remdesivir injection,” Gowda said in a tweet. The minister had earlier asked the state governments to take strict action against anyone found indulged in black marketing or hoarding of Remdesivir. Black marketing, hoarding of Remdesivir is being strictly monitored and state governments have been advised to take strict action against those indulging in such malpractices, he had tweeted. On Sunday, Minister of State of Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh L Mandaviya had tweeted that the government plans to double the production of Remdesivir to around 3 lakh vials per day over the next 15 days, to make it available readily for the treatment of COVID-19.
The government has given permission to 20 plants to produce the antiviral drug, he had said. Already, Remdesivir is being rolled out of 20 plants in the country. On Saturday, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had announced that the pharmaceutical companies like Cadila Healthcare, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Cipla have reduced the price of their respective brands of Remdesivir injection (100mg/vial). Nearly 3 lakh new COVID-19 cases and over 2,000 deaths were reported in the country on Wednesday, a record-high since the pandemic broke out last year. As per the union health ministry, as many as 2,95,041 new COVID-19 cases and 2,023 deaths were reported, taking the total cases to 1,56,16,130, including 21,57,538 active cases.