Govt may relax norms to allow Remdesivir exporters to sell in domestic markets

Govt may relax norms to allow Remdesivir exporters to sell in domestic markets

This measure is expected to boost availability of the drug, which is used for Covid treatment

The Centre is reportedly considering a plan to allow Remdesivir exporters, which import the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) under the advance licence scheme to manufacture the finished product, to sell the drug in the domestic market. The government may waive a key export incentive policy clause that bars such exporters from selling locally, the Economic Times mentioned in a report.

The publication citing people aware of the development mentioned that the government may give exemptions on a case-by-case basis to those importing from registered suppliers.

This measure is expected to boost availability of the drug, which is used for Covid treatment, in the domestic market. Supplies of the drug have been running low, prompting a ban on exports.

Export obligations can be waived temporarily to allow them to sell locally. As customs duty has been removed from Remdesivir and its API there is no issue for its sale in the domestic market, the business daily mentioned citing an official.

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Central Drug Control Organisation will have to take a call on the importers of unregistered Remdesivir, the official added.

Worth mentioning here is that under the advance licence scheme, duty-free import of inputs is allowed to add value and subsequent export. However, this is a fully export-promotion scheme and goods so produced cannot be sold in the domestic market.

According to industry executives, there are about 7-8 manufacturers that import the API against advance licence and export Remdesivir vials. Some are importing from registered suppliers and some from unregistered ones. Any waiver for unregistered suppliers will be taken up after discussions with the health ministry, the person cited above told ET.

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The exporters’ estimated combined capacity is 1.2-1.5 million Remdesivir injections per day and they are currently said to be holding as much in stock. Allowing their domestic sale can quickly augment supply.

The government had on April 11 banned export of Remdesivir injections and Remdesivir API when shortages emerged. The ban did not apply to exports under the advance licence scheme, but effectively no export is happening, according to industry executives.

Gilead Sciences on Monday announced measures to expand the availability of Remdesivir in India. It will donate at least 450,000 vials of the drug.

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