The health ministry has also recommended tocilizumab in its national clinical guidelines, which say the drug may be considered for patients with moderate diseas
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Council (BMC) will procure 20,000 doses of Tocilizumab as part of the city’s healthcare treatment for COVID-19 patients. The civic body will issue tenders for the drug, despite limited data that it has improved the condition of coronavirus-affected patients.
The BMC is negotiating to acquire the drug for Rs 15,000 per 200 mg vial and Rs 30,000 for a 400 mg vial from Roche Pharma, The Economic Times reported.
“Several members of the state department were not too keen to purchase this drug as its effectiveness is still under question. They suggested using the money on providing oxygen or ICU enabled beds,” an official told the paper.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
Notably, across the globe, Sanofi (France) and Regeneron (United States) halted their trials for tocilizumab and sarilumab – another similar drug, after not finding enough evidence that it helped patients.
Arvinder Soin, who is leading the tocilizumab trial in India, told the paper that effectiveness of tocilizumab and sarilumab “remains to be seen.”
The Health Ministry recommended tocilizumab for patients suffering from moderate diseases and for those whose increasing oxygen requirements are unmet by steroid use. The drug had in fact become scarce as doctors began using it off-label.
It was found effective for some patients in China and is traditionally meant for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
The guidelines have however noted that use of the therapy is “based on limited available evidence” and the recommendation would be upgraded once more evidence and data becomes available.Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here