Youth Congress chief Srinivas urges Centre to remove GST on Covid-19 drugs

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: In what is being seen as a move to further rationalise the use of remdesivir for Covid patients, the Centre on Monday said that that the drug can be used for hospitalised patients only on the advice of senior faculty members or specialists directly involved in treatment.

The fresh guidelines on the use of remdesivir, issued by the Union Health Ministry and the ICMR also say that if the investigational drug has to be advised or ordered during odd hours, it should be done by the duty doctor after telephonic consultation with a senior faculty member or specialist or unit in-charge.

The advice or order for the drug must be written and bear the name, signature and stamp of the concerned doctor, as per the guidelines.

Importantly, all hospitals have been instructed to set up a special drug committee, preferably with a pharmacology specialist, which must review the use of remdesivir periodically.

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This committee will be expected to share their findings with the clinicians periodically to ensure rational and judicious use of the drug, which according to available evidence so far, has no benefit for Covid19 patients in terms of mortality or disease progression but may reduce days of hospitalisation to some extent.

The new advisory also reiterates that the drug should be procured and provided by the hospitals only and the patient’s attendants should not be asked to procure it from the retail market, the advisory stated.

In late April this year, the Centre had set cut-off thresholds for the use of remdesivir after symptom onset, beyond which it has no role. The drug, said the instructions, can be used in patients with moderate to severe disease within 10 days of symptom onset but not after that. 

In a separate advisory issued recently, the directorate of health services under the health ministry meanwhile has dropped other repurposed drugs hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and favipiravir as suggestions for mild to moderate Covid patients.