5 More Manufactures Given License to Produce Drug Used to Treat Black Fungus: Govt

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The Union Health Ministry on Friday said license has been given to five more manufactures for production of Amphotericin-B, used in the treatment of black fungus, and they will start producing 1,11,000 vials of the drug per month from July. Efforts are being made to supplement the domestic availability of the anti-fungal drug through import, the ministry said, adding that 3,63,000 vials of Amphotericin-B will be imported in May, resulting in the total availability of 5,26,752 vials (inclusive of the domestic production) in the country.

It said 3,15,000 vials will be imported in June and along with the domestic supply, the countrywide availability of Amphotericin-B will be enhanced to 5,70,114 vials in June. Several states and union territories have reported an increasing number of patients suffering from COVID complications in the recent days in the form of Mucormycosis, popularly known as black fungus, the ministry said in a statement. There is also a reported shortage of Amphotericin-B, it stated.

The Union Health Ministry along with the Department of Pharmaceuticals and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) are making proactive efforts for significantly ramping up domestic production of Amphotericin-B drug, it said. The Union government has also made effective efforts in supplementing the domestic availability through securing supply from global manufacturers, the statement said. The five manufacturers which have been given the license to produce the Amphotericin-B within the country are NATCO Pharmaceuticals, Hyderabad, Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Vadodara, Gufic Biosciences Ltd, Gujarat, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Pune and Lyka in Gujarat.

These companies will start producing 1,11,000 vials of Amphotericin-B per month from July this year, the statement said. The Union Health Ministry and department of Pharmaceuticals are together trying to proactively facilitate these five manufacturers to prepone some of this production so that these additional supplies begin in June, the statement said. There are five existing manufacturers of Amphotericin-B in the country and one importer — Bharat Serums & Vaccines Ltd, BDR Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Sun Pharma Ltd, Cipla Ltd, Life Care Innovations and Mylan Labs (importer).

“The production capacity of these companies was extremely limited in the month of April. “As a result of the hand-holding by Government of India, these domestic manufactures will cumulatively produce 1,63,752 vials of Amphotericin-B in May. This will be further ramped up to 2,55,114 vials in June,” the ministry said. Efforts are also being made to supplement the domestic availability of this anti-fungal drug through import, it said. “In May, 3,63,000 vials of Amphotericin-B will be imported, thereby resulting in total availability in the country (inclusive of the domestic production) of 5,26,752 vials” “Besides, 3,15,000 vials will be imported in June. Hence, along with the domestic supply, the countrywide availability of Amphotericin-B will be enhanced to 5,70,114 vials in June,” the ministry said.

Together, these companies will start producing 1,11,000 vials of Amphotericin-B per month from July, it added. The Union Ministry of Health in collaboration with MEA is also actively exploring other global sources from where the Amphotericin-B drug can be imported. The ministry is also trying to procure other anti-fungal drugs which can be used in treatment of black Fungus, the statement added.

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