Amid Remdesivir shortage, antiviral drugs sells for ₹6000 on OLX
Remdesivir is being sold on an e-commerce website for ₹6000, at a time when hospitals are running low on the anti-viral drug, according to several reports. The reports have said advertisements have been spotted on OLX, an international classified website, selling Remdesivir vials for as high as ₹6,000. The users are mostly reported to be from Maharashtra and Gujarat and the ads are listed under the "health and beauty category". Interestingly, medicines are one of the few items that OLX has prohibited from selling on the platform.
This comes as authorities have launched a crackdown over the black marketing of Remdesivir, which health officials have said should be used on patients who have severe Covid-19 symptoms and have comorbidities. With the massive spike in Covid-19 cases across the country, demand for Remdesivir has also surged leading to the shortage of medicine at pharmacies and people standing in long queues to get even one vial of the drug.
On Friday, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan assured of strict action against those who are involved in black marketing of the anti-viral drug. "Companies manufacturing coronavirus drug Remdesivir have been asked to ramp up production. I assure you that strict action will be taken against those who are involved in black marketing of the drug and other malpractices," news agency PTI quoted him as saying.
Police arrested a doctor and three hospital ward boys on Friday evening for allegedly stealing Remdesivir injections from dead Covid-19 patients in order to sell them in the black market, news agency PTI reported citing Nagpur’s deputy commissioner of police V Neelotpal.
The Pune Police also arrested five men and recovered four vials of the Remdesivir injection on Thursday. The recovery was done through raids carried out by officials of Unit 4 of the Pune Police’s crime branch on Wednesday.