Taiwan advised to turn to India for COVID-19 drug remdesivir

Used to treat coronavirus patients, Remdesivir has been in high demand

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Vial of remdesivir at Gilead manufacturing site in U.S.

Vial of remdesivir at Gilead manufacturing site in U.S. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has been asked to procure the antiviral drug remdesivir from India as the medication’s manufacturer, U.S.-based Gilead Sciences, is finding it hard to meet soaring global demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed last week it was mulling adopting of dexamethasone, an alternative to remdesivir, which has been in short supply. Used to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients, around 1,000 doses of the intravenous drug were due in July but not delivered.

While Gilead rushes to fill an influx of orders, with at least three months’ output allegedly intended to meet U.S. demand, the Chinese Association for Pharmaceutical Agents (CAPA) in Taiwan is urging the government to look to India.

A number of generic drug companies in India that have been granted licenses by Gilead are seeking to fill in as suppliers of remdesivir to Taiwan, said the CAPA. The association suggested that the country import medication from Indian manufacturers to address stockpile woes, wrote CTWant.

Gilead has signed licensing agreements with generic pharmaceutical manufacturers based in India, Egypt, and Pakistan to expand the supply of remdesivir. American pharmaceutical company Pfizer has also agreed to manufacture the drug to boost its availability, reported CNBC on Aug. 7.