Lessons learnt from the second wave: Tracking possibility of drug demand and supply gap with Omicron wreaking havoc

Lessons learnt from the second wave: Tracking possibility of drug demand and supply gap with Omicron wreaking havoc

Leading pharmaceutical company Sun Pharma recently is launching Merck Sharpe Dohme (MSD) and Ridgeback’s COVID-19 antiviral drug molnupiravir, whileDrReddys also covers a large spectrum of COVID-19 products from prevention to treatment. Similarly, emerging pharmaceutical companies like Parmjit Arora-led Health Biotech Limited are also relying on their dedicated production lines to deal with a possible increased demand for drugs.

 Covid-19 crisis has taught some crucial lessons to all of us, both individually and collectively. Almost all the sectors had to bear the brunt of an unknown threat, including the healthcare sector. One of the key lessons learnt from the first two waves of the pandemic was the importance of having a holistic medicine supply to meet the demand in crisis situations. The unprecedented increase in drug demand left the healthcare sector overwhelmed, especially during the second wave, with oxygen shortage adding to the agony.

 Cut to the new year, India’s daily Covid-19 cases have shot up to over 1 Lakh 50 thousand with Omicron variant being detected in most of them. A number of states have imposed night curfew, weekend curfew and a range of other restrictions. The good thing, though, is that almost the entire population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and almost half is fully vaccinated.

 However, the danger still remains with countries like UK and Australia witnessing record cases and hospitalization. With a vulnerable healthcare system and a huge population, India may possibly again witness a demand and supply gap in medicines, and this is where leading pharmaceutical companies in India are expected to bridge the gap. 

One of the leading pharmaceutical companies in India, Dilip Shanghvi-led Sun Pharma, recently said that it is launching Merck Sharpe Dohme (MSD) and Ridgeback’s COVID-19 antiviral drug molnupiravir under the brand name Molxvir in India. Dr Reddys also covers a large spectrum of COVID-19 products from prevention to treatment that helps in mitigating the risk. Similarly, emerging pharmaceutical companies like Parmjit Aroraled Health Biotech Limited are also relying on their dedicated production lines to deal with a possible increased demand for drugs.

In a precarious situation like this, having a dedicated production line for large-volume product manufacturing is of great importance. Talking about the vaccines, nine of them have already been approved by the Indian government. Currently, only three are being used, which includeCovishield, Covaxin from Indian organization Bharat Biotech and Russian-made Sputnik V. From all of these, Covishield accounts for around 90 per cent of the doses given till date. The vaccination rate too, has been quite impressive in India.

 However, the focus has again shifted to the drug demand as the country grapples with Omicron threat. One can hope that the healthcare system as a whole is able to deal with the increase in hospitalization without being overwhelmed.

Tribune Shorts


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