Amid the rising number of positive Covid-19 cases across Mumbai, the demand for Remdesivir injection, which has been used as a life-saving drug for treating critical patients have also increased following which the vials which cost Rs 900 are being sold at Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 at medical stores in black. However, officials said they have not received any complaints from the patients' kin regarding Remdesivir injection being sold at such a high price. Health experts said Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should take joint action on such acts and investigate the matter.
One of the patient’s kin said there is a huge demand for these antiviral injections in the hospital following which they have been asked to get these vials. But the medical stores outside the King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital are demanding 50-times more than the actual rates. However, recently they had read that the price of Remdesivir has slashed by 65 per cent, despite this then are being overcharged. “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 Kiran Pawar, a Parel resident.
Civic officials said they have recently floated a tender for procuring 1.5 lakh vials of Remdesivir injections considering that the number of cases will increase and along with that the demand for these life-saving drugs too will increase. “So far we have not received any complaints from patients' relatives of being overcharged. But we will look into this matter as overcharging more than the actual price is black marketing following which strict action will be taken against the defaulters,” he said.
Health experts said there is no availability of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab Injection in medical shops and hospitals are asking patients' relatives to get Remdesivir & Tocilizumab Injection on an urgent basis. “Distributors of these injections are the main root cause for black marketing. If the government makes this medicine available to chemists then people don’t have to purchase it at higher rates from the back door. Moreover, the government and FDA should take strict action against them,” he said.