A pharmaceutical firm each from Russia and Uzbekistan have conveyed readiness to supply Remdesivir to India, the antiviral drug indicated for COVID-19 treatment and whose demand has soared in recent weeks.
Besides Remdesivir, a few Russian firms have also expressed interest in exporting oxygen- production devices.
Sharing information received through Indian Embassy in Moscow and Embassy of Uzbekistan in New Delhi, the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) said Russian firm Pharmasyntez had said it would be able to export 3-4 lakh packs per week of Remdeform (INN Remdesivir) to India.
JV Jurabek Laboratories of Uzbekistan had made an offer to supply Remdessa (Remdesivir), a lyophilisate used for the preparation of an infusion solution, to India.
Pharmexcil also conveyed to its members the commercial offers for oxygen-production devices from different Russian suppliers. These can be airlifted at short notice from Russia to India, its communication said.
The commercial offers for Remdesivir supplies from the firms come in the face of a presumable shortage of the drug in India, making those in need, in desperation, ready to shell out many times over the set price. On its part, the government has warned unscruplous elements indulging in hoarding and blackmarketing.
The offers are expected to generate considerable interest among Indian firms, even though U.S. biopharmacetical from Gilead Sciences, which is behind Remdesivir, has raised objections to Russia manufacturing the drug.
Gilead has voluntary licensing programme with seven firms in India. On Monday, it said the seven firms have “significantly accelerated production of Remdesivir by scaling up their batch sizes, adding new manufacturing facilities and/or onboarding local contract manufacturers across the country. While these efforts are expected to increase availability of Remdesivir in the coming weeks, Gilead will donate at least 450,000 vials of Veklury (Remdesivir) to the government of India.”
Pharmexcil Director General Ravi Udaya Bhaskar, however, does not anticipate any issue for those intending to get into agreements with Russia for Remdesivir. Sources in the council said following the communication to the members, a few firms are in discussion with the Russian and Uzbek firms.
“Taking into account severe shortages through indigenous sources, Indian pharma importers may like to consider the Russian offer. Members may kindly be aware that import permissions from CDSCO needs to be taken while importing the said product,” a Pharmexcil communication said.
Advising members to make their own decisions before finalising their business transactions, the council said “it is understood that Pharmasyntez is one of the largest drug manufacturers in the Russian Federation. It has acquired rights to produce and sell the Remdeform (Remdesivir, lyophilized powder for injection, generic drug of Veklury of Gilead Sciences). The Russian firm has estimated delivery time to be 8-10 days.
On the oxygen production devices, Pharmexcil shared details of the commercial offers made by a few Russian suppliers. The equipment can be airlifted at short notice from Russia to India. Air India and Aeroflot flights from Moscow to Delhi have cargo supply capacities.