India's Maharashtra state asks blood banks to send plasma to Reliance Life Sciences in albumin shortage

Facing an acute shortage of human albumin, the medicines regulator in India's Maharashtra state has written to all blood banks instructing them to provide plasma to the company that produces the most of the product in the state, Reliance Life Sciences, in a step that along with imports may ease the situation.

Harshadeep Kamble

Harshadeep Kamble, commissioner of the Maharashtra State Food and Drug Administration, told DNA India newspaper that patients have scoured to get albumin and often pay almost double the amount of its actual price to do so.

"We had a detailed discussion with the company officials and tried to understand their problem why they can't increase their production capacity," Kamble told DNA India.

"In this meeting, we came to know that the demand for the drug is huge but its supply is less because the company needs raw material to produce the drug. They do not get plasma as per their need and thus the limited production. Now, they have got the permission from the central government to import plasma from abroad. This move will help to increase the production."

In March, India regulators considered emergency procedures to build supplies of human albumin, which at the time had been in short supply for nearly a year.

But the issue also revolves around pricing, according to an earlier Times of India story, with some manufacturers reluctant to produce more albumin because the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority-set cap on the price of it was too low to afford much of a profit margin. The NPPA countered in March that its discussions with drugmakers indicate that is not true.

Human albumin is used in healing of wounds caused by infection or disease with less than a handful of firms in India that manufacture the product, DNA India said.

- here's the story from DNA India