Last Updated on June 11, 2020 by The Health Master
Following National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) directive to address the demand of tocilizumab injection in government hospitals in Gujarat for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, the Mumbai-based pharmaceutical major Cipla Ltd has renewed its supply by releasing another batch of 700 tocilizumab injections to Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA).
Supplies of the injection have been made consistent based on the Gujarat government hospitals’ requirement for the drug due to its novel use for treating critically ill COVID-19 patients. A batch of 250 injections of tocilizumab was earlier sourced out from the Cipla’s depot in Bengaluru by a Gujarat stockist based on the ongoing correspondences of Gujarat FDCA and NPPA.
Drug tocilizumab injection is a monoclonal antibody primarily meant for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
“Though clinical trials are being done across the world and also as part of WHO solidarity trial, tocilizumab has shown promising results in COVID-19 treatment based on its novel use. Talks are ongoing with the Cipla company to maintain its consistent supply in the interest of patient safety,” informed Gujarat FDCA Commissioner Dr HG Koshia.
Gujarat FDCA had earlier recommended to the Gujarat state government high powered COVID committee to source the drug to save lives of patients in Gujarat which is amongst the worst hit states in the country due to COVID-19 pandemic. Available in dosage of 80 mg per vial, 200 mg per vial and 400 mg, the injection is sold under the brand name Actemra in India. Tocilizumab manufactured by Roche Pharma and marketed by Mumbai-based Cipla is today being used on COVID-19 patients who suffer from extreme immune system response towards the infection, called cytokine storm, leading to multi organ failure and eventually death.
Tocilizumab in certain trial studies has shown to slow down the cytokine response in COVID-19 patients by modulating a protein called IL6. Union health ministry has separately approved a few hospitals in India to start multi-centre trial of this drug for critical patients of COVID-19.