The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Wednesday stressed on the need for equitable distribution of drugs being used for "investigational therapies" across the country directing the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to ensure the same. The Health Ministry's move comes days after smaller states and UTs like Arunachal Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu wrote to the Ministry seeking the requirement of the investigational therapy drugs.
"I am directed to say that apart from availability, the geographical distribution/reach of the drugs included as part of investigational therapies in clinical management protocol for COVID-19, namely, Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, may also be monitored," said a senior Health Official in a letter to the DGCI.
"The Ministry may kindly be apprised as to how many States/UTs have been covered and which of the States/UTs, if any, are left as far as the availability/distribution of these drugs by the respective companies is concerned," read the letter. The official added that with the timely intervention of the DCGI, smaller States and Union Territories (UTs) had been provided with adequate quantities of drugs under the investigational therapy for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
When it comes to drugs being used in investigational therapy, India's drug regulator DGCI has allowed the use of Itolizumab, a drug used to cure skin ailment psoriasis for "restricted emergency use" to treat COVID-19 patients. Itolizumab is the first novel biologic therapy to be approved anywhere in the world for treating patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 complications. Along with this, Remdesvir and disputed drug Hydroxychloroquine are also being used on an emergency basis for COVID patients with moderate to severe symptoms.
India on Tuesday recorded 48,513 new cases of Coronavirus taking the total number of cases in the country to 15,31,669. Out of this, there are 5,09,447 active cases while 9,88,029 people have recovered. The nation has recorded 34,193 deaths.