Drug regulator cracks down on Remdesivir black marketing

Maitri Porecha New Delhi | Updated on July 09, 2020 Published on July 07, 2020

While MRP of the drug was ₹5,400, it was allegedly sold anywhere between ₹15,000 - ₹60,000

After concerns were raised that a drug used in the treatment of patients with severe Covid-19 infection was being black marketed and sold at inflated prices, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) VG Somani has written to all states and union territories to spruce up enforcement.

The action is being taken after a letter of complaint was received by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare which mentioned that while the MRP for selling Remdesivir was ₹5,400, consumers had reported it being sold at a price of anywhere between ₹15,000 to ₹60,000. “Various medical shops have been telling buyers that the medicine is in short supply but can be made available if they are ready to pay a premium. This is putting extreme pressure on the families of many critical patients who are trying hard to secure the medicine somehow. It has also been reported that doctors at many private hospitals are directing families to procure the medicine themselves,” the complaint states.

“This office has received a letter from M/s Local Circles, through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare raising concerns regarding black marketing and overpricing of the drug Remdesivir by certain unscrupulous persons. In view of above, you are requested to instruct your enforcement officials to keep strict vigil on the matter to prevent the black marketing and sale of the drug Remdesivir injection above MRP,” Somani has stated.

In a letter to the Union Health Ministry officials, Local Circles which states itself to be community engagement and social media platform for civic causes stated that it had received many posts and comments from citizens on overcharging of Remdesivir.

On June 1, DCGI had approved pharma major Gilead’s formulation of the drug for import and marketing in the country. DCGI has now stated that the importer is yet to import the drug after taking an import license from the regulator. Eventually, DCGI granted permission to manufacture and market the drug to Cipla, Hetero and Mylan.

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Published on July 07, 2020
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