With the COVID-19 pandemic conditions improving in India according to some local reports, the demand for antiviral drugs Remdesivir and Favipiravir, used to treat moderate and severe cases of the disease is now on the wane leading to gluts. There is a glut of these drugs and with a shelf-life of three months, a good amount of product faces expiry. Pharmacy chemists apparently procure such drugs in advance and if the pharma companies don’t accept returns, the local Indian firms will suffer economic loss. Consequently, a representative form the All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists sent a letter to the executives of manufacturers of both Remdesivir and Favipiravir requesting that they accept returns. Given the association supports industry, they implore that the companies support them in this matter. The intermediaries in the supply chain may get squeezed badly if COVID-19 cases decline further. Overall, it’s good news for India.
‘Compelling’ to Pay Upfront
The letter communicated, “Most of our members were compelled to purchase Remdesivir and Favipiravir drugs on advance payment. But in the recent past, owing to the drastic fall in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, the demand for such products have gone down. The stocks lying with stockists have come close to their date of expiry as most of the batches had a shelf life of hardly three months.”
With a huge surplus of Remdesivir and Favipiravir, AK Jeevan, general secretary of Karnataka Chemists and Druggists Association, recently informed The Hindu that a growing crisis confronts the Indian chemists nationwide. “As we were compelled to buy the drugs on advance payments, we will have to face huge losses for no fault of ours if the companies do not accept the returns.”
Recently, Mary Beth Pfeiffer writing for TrialSite reported on improving numbers—that is a decline in COVID-19 cases. Although, there were reports in India that demand for remdesivir was up as recently as November. But considerable number of local media report by December a significant decline in the number of India cases. By Dec. 17, the steepest weekly decline thus far occurred according to the Times of India.