India's Cipla Ltd has doubled production of COVID-19 medication remdesivir to help meet "unprecedented demand" as the country battles a massive second wave of infections, the drugmaker said on Tuesday. India has overtaken Brazil as the world's second-worst coronavirus-hit country after the United States, having administered about 107 million vaccine doses among a population of 1.4 billion. On Sunday, the country banned the export of anti-viral drug remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients to deal with crippling shortages of the medication in many parts.
Indian drug companies are looking to local makers of so-called active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) or trying to make them in-house in a bid to end their reliance on China as ties between the two countries soured after a deadly border clash last June. Though India is known as the pharmacy of the world for its massive production capacities of both generic drugs and vaccines, China accounted for half of its API needs in 2019 from nearly nothing three decades ago, industry data shows. Executives at India's Cadila Healthcare, Cipla, Sun Pharmaceutical and Biocon said on Tuesday they were aggressively working on reducing the dependence on the richer rival for raw materials.
Demand for COVID-19 antiviral drug remdesivir is rising sharply in India, a top executive at drugmaker Cipla Ltd <CIPL.NS> said on Monday, even as experts remain divided over its effectiveness. Remdesivir was developed by U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc <GILD.O>, which cut its 2020 revenue forecast last month, citing lower-than-expected demand and difficulty in predicting sales of the treatment. Cipla is among several firms licensed to make and sell generic versions in developing nations.