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Maharashtra: Haffkine fails to find Remdesivir bidder, state to face shortage

Haffkine had floated a tender to procure 6 lakh vials of Remdesivir on April 15 but got no bidder.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
Updated: April 18, 2021 1:58:56 pm
Remdesivir, Remdesivir Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh Remdesivir, Remdesivir availability, Remdesivir news, india news, indian expressAn ampule of antiviral remdesivir. (AP Photo)

Maharashtra is staring at an acute shortage of Remdesivir across all district government hospitals and medical colleges with Haffkine Biopharma Private Limited, the nodal agency for its procurement in the state, unable to find a bidder to supply the anti-viral drug.

With demand high across Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Delhi, the stock with most manufacturers are running dry. Haffkine had floated a tender to procure 6 lakh vials of Remdesivir on April 15 but got no bidder. On April 16, it floated a new tender for 2 lakh vials with hopes that manufacturers would entertain smaller tenders.

Sandip Rathod, managing director in Haffkine, told The Sunday Express, “There is a delay in production, but we are reaching out to all sources. If we don’t get bidder for 6 lakh or 2 lakh vials, we are ready to float smaller tender for 10,000 vials.”

Across India, there are seven manufacturers with marketing license of Remdesivir. Maharashtra mainly relies on three — Cipla, Zydus Cadila and Hetero Healthcare.

Until Thursday, Maharashtra had a stock of over 40,000 vials in the market and in hospitals. State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials said the daily demand for the anti-viral is over 50,000 vials. With Maharashtra’s active case load being around 6.47 lakh, even though the protocols on the drug’s use are strict, the demand is expected to further rise in the coming days. But the stock is expected to stabilise only after April 30.

NCP leader and Minister Nawab Malik on Saturday blamed the Union government over the delay in Remdesivir supply to Maharashtra. He alleged that the 16 export companies of Remdesivir, which are prohibited from exporting the drug or its active pharmaceutical ingredients, are not being allowed to sell the anti-viral to Maharashtra but have been allowed to sell to Gujarat.

“This is step-motherly treatment,” Malik tweeted, sharing a copy of the order of Gujarat FDA to BDR LifeSciences to supply 1.42 lakh vials. BDR Lifesciences did not respond to queries.

Later on Saturday, Mansukh Mandaviya, MoS for Chemicals and Fertilizers, tweeted that Malik’s allegations are “half truths and lies”. “We are doubling the production in the country and have given express permission to 20 more plants since 12-4-2021 to manufacturers…” he said.

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