Srinagar, July 22: Asserting that the antiviral drug Remdesivir reduces the risk of death among COVID-19 patients, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday said the drug is unaffordable for poor patients.
“Because of high cost, Remdesivir is out of reach for poor people,” DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan said.
“The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has approved Remdesivir injection under emergency use authorization for the treatment of suspected or lab confirmed Covid-19 cases who are hospitalized with severe disease,” he said.
“It is a five day treatment. The loading dose of 200 mg (shot) on day 1 is followed by 100 mg (shot) daily for 4 days (total 5 days),” he added.
Dr Hassan said each vial of Remdesivir costs between Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,400. “Thus for a five day treatment, a patient has to pay anywhere between Rs 24,000 and Rs 32,400 as the cost the drug,” he said, adding the price makes it inaccessible to those patients who desperately need it. The DAK president said besides affordability, non-availability of the drug is equally breeding the concern on the ground. “Unaffordability and non- availability of the drug is putting lives of Covid patients at serious risk,” he said.
Dr Hassan said government needs to make sure any treatment that has the potential to save lives is accessible and affordable to all those who need it. “We must remove all obstacles to the widespread use of one of the most effective treatments that the novel virus has at this point in time,” he said.
He said studies have shown that patients who received Remdesivir recovered faster than those who did not receive the drug. Quoting a study, he said the drug cuts the recovery time by nearly one-third, reducing the median recovery time for Covid-19 patients by four days.
“Another clinical trial has found the drug to reduce the risk of death by 62 per cent among Covid patients,” he added.