Britain and Germany said on Wednesday they had sufficient stocks of remdesivir, the first approved drug for treating COVID-19, downplaying fears of a possible shortage in supply.
This comes after the US government announced this week that it had bought 92 percent of all remdesivir production by the Gilead laboratory until the end of September — about 500,000 treatments out of nearly 550,000. Each treatment requires 6.25 vials on average.
The drug was approved in the United States on May 1 after clinical trials showing it reduced the recovery time for seriously ill COVID-19 patients by four days, and Europe is set to approve it soon.
Washington’s buy-up raised concerns about a shortage in the rest of the world, but at least two European countries said Thursday that they were not worried.
However, spokespersons for both German and British governments have dismissed such concerns, noting that they presently have sufficient reserve of the drug after securing sufficient stocks earlier.
The Gilead laboratory has indicated that it granted free licenses to nine manufacturers of generic drugs in India, Pakistan and Egypt, which will have the right to distribute their versions of remdesivir in 127 countries, mainly in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Central America.
“If you are worried that you or a loved one will need this drug and it won’t be available if you are not in the US, I don’t think that will be the case (and I certainly hope not),” Farasat Bokhari, associate professor in economics at the University of East Anglia, said.
“Manufacturers in other countries are going to ramp up production. The only issue is how fast they can do it.”
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