In bid to curb the black marketing of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab injections, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now urged citizens to file complaints if they are being overcharged for the life saving injections. The FDA can crack a whip when citizens lodge complaints with it. There is a huge demand for these antiviral injections and supply is too less in the market. Thus, there are people who are doing black- marketing of these injections. “I needed an injection Remdesivir for my brother who was Covid positive and was critical but there was no stock in the hospital so they asked me to get it from outside. I made several calls to suppliers. All are asking for Rs 40,000 to Rs 70,000, but luckily one supplier agreed to sell it to me for Rs 35,000,” said Rajesh Chavan, resident of Kandivali.
Arun Unnhale, FDA commissioner said they have not received any complaint of overcharging due to which they cannot take any action. They are cracking blackmarketing of these drugs after they get a tip off and it could only happen when people come forward and lodge a complaint. “It is learnt many suppliers and manufacturers are charging 20 per cent extra for Remdesivir and Tocilixumab than the actual rates. But until we don’t any official complaints action cannot be taken,” he said.
Last week State FDA Minister Rajendra Shingne has directed all the officials to curb the black marketing of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab — two drugs essential for treatment of COVID-19 patients and they should ensure they are not sold at high prices. Following which they started a toll-free number 1800222365 where citizens can lodge complaints regarding the black marketing of the medicines. “The toll free number has started since July 18 but still no one has lodged complaints of being overcharging,” he said.
In this month alone, FDA along with the Police department had conducted only 4 raids in Mumbai & MMR region. In these four raids so far, 14 people have been arrested for selling Remdesivir and Tocilizumab illegally and at more than MRP.
Sachin Pandey, social activist, Dindoshi said there is no availability of Remdesivir Injection & Tocilizumab Injection in medical shops and hospitals are asking patients' relatives to get Remdesivir, Actemra & Tocilizumab Injection on urgent basis. “Distributors of these injections are the main root cause for black marketing. If the government makes this medicine available at chemists then people don’t have to purchase it at higher rates from the back door. Moreover government and FDA should take strict action against them,” he said.