The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre whether demand for COVID-19 drug Tocilizumab, which is in short supply, would be reduced if drug major Roche provides its new antibody cocktail that has been approved for emergency use in India for coronavirus patients.
The court also asked the Centre what quantities of the antibody cocktail would be required for the purpose of reducing demand for Tocilizumab.
The query was posed to the government by Justice Prathiba M Singh after Roche India, which supplies Tocilizumab in India, told the court it can only endeavour to supply the medicine and cannot assure to meet the market demand for the same, even though patients are willing to pay for it.
The court noted that the global manufacturing figures of the drug have not been filed before it by Roche despite specific directions.
Another reason given by Roche for not being able to supply Tocilizumab was that the antibody cocktail of Casirivimab and lmdevimab medicines "may be a better treatment for COVID-19 patients".
The drug major told the court that its "current focus" was to supply the said antibody cocktail and 1,00,000 doses of the same is likely to be sent to India by the end of May.
30,000 vials of Tocilizumab imported
Meanwhile, as many as 30,000 vials of Tocilizumab, a drug often prescribed by doctors to treat COVID-19 patients, were imported to India within 11 days by the Central government to cater to the increasing demand across the country due to rising cases.
Sources of the Union Chemical and Fertilisers Ministry told ANI that 30,000 vials were imported from April 30 to May 11.