Black Marketing of Remdesivir
CDSCO Asks Drug Controllers To Take Necessary Measures Against It
In order to prevent the black marketing of remdesivir injections in the country, the Drug Controllers of all States and the Union Territories Drug Controllers are requested to take immediate necessary measures, by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). After reports of illegal marketing of the drug started doing rounds, CDSCO took this decision.
According to the issued to all Drug Controllers by Dr. VG Somani, Drug Controller General (India) (DCGI) stated that the office has received a letter through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), from social media platform, independent community engagement, and LocalCircles, raising concerns regarding overpricing of remdesivir by certain unscrupulous persons and black marketing of the drug.
In the letter addressed to high-level government authorities, the Chairman CEO of LocalCircles, Sachin Taparia stated that across India, many posts and comments from citizens about black marketing of remedisivir were received by LocalCircles over the last 72 hours. It was also pointed out in the letter that the consumers have reported that the drug is being sold at a price of anywhere ranging between Rs 15,000 to Rs 60,000 while the actual MRP of remedisivir marketed by Hetero Healthcare is Rs 5400. Additionally, many medical shops have been telling buyers that the drug can be made available if they are ready to pay a premium as they said that the medicine is in short supply.
LocalCircles’ survey details were also highlighted in the letter, in which there were 8329 responses and around 93% of consumers from 233 districts of India said that immediate action against black marketing of the remedisivir must be taken by the legal metrology and drug inspectors. It also suggested that Hetero Labs should provide patient-level traceability on a daily basis for every sold unit and this must be ensured by NPPA and DCGI.
The Assistant State Drugs Controller, FDA, Head Quarter, Haryana, Panchkula, Manmohan Taneja, speaking on the situation informed that “Our officers are keeping a strict vigil and offenders will be dealt with an iron hand though we have not received such complaints in our state so far. To all concerned C&F distributors, we have already issued circulars. Their sales and stock statements are being asked to be submitted without fail every day. To verify them daily and send the report to headquarters on or before 5 pm, field officers have also been directed.”
General Secretary, AIOCD, Rajiv Singhal said, “In a discussion with higher authorities in the CDSCO, we assured them that none of our members are involved in the ongoing unethical marketing practices related to remedisivir. However, we have also committed to them that strict action will be taken if we find any of our members’ involvement in it.”
To avoid such circumstances in the future, pharma companies involved in the manufacturing and marketing of remedisivir injections too are in the process of preparing a stringent process.
For the treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 infection, the DCGI approved ‘restricted emergency use’ of remedisivir injections in the last month.
According to the DCGI letter, for the import and marketing of the drug in the country, the remedisivir formulation of the innovator was approved on June 1, 2020. However, the drug is yet to be imported by the importer. Thus, to manufacture and market the drug in the country, the CDSCO has granted permission to Cipla, Hetero, and Mylan Laboratories.