Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday warned that stringent action will be initiated against those caught hoarding and black-marketing COVID-19 drug Remdesivir. Bommai, who was in Humnabad, campaigning for the party for the upcoming bye-election on April 17, told the media that Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar had assured him that there is sufficient stock of the life-saving drug.
â€śBased on my interaction with him [Sudhakar], I can safely maintain that there is no shortage of this drug, but if anyone is trying to misuse this during a pandemic by black-marketing, then all those will be punished severely," said the Minister.
He said that the government will take the necessary steps to check demand and the supply chain. He added that the government, under the Epidemic Act, will be keeping track of the production and supply of the Remdesivir. Those engaging in malpractice shall face severe consequences, he said.
"With the second wave kicking in, I am convening a meeting of higher officials of State Police on Friday to discuss strategies to nab those who are trying to create fake scarcity of the drug," he said adding that the state government canâ€™t allow black-marketers and hoarders to retain the drug in times of crisis.
TNM had earlier reported that both â€” private and government hospitals â€” have been asking attendants of patients to procure Remdesivir from outside. With no information about the availability, people visited multiple stores, made calls, and also paid up to Rs 9,600 per vial, roughly about 200-300% of the actual price of the medicine in desperation.
Currently, at least seven companies are manufacturing and marketing Remdesivir in India under non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with US-based Gilead Sciences. These generic pharmaceutical manufacturers include Zydus Cadila (Remdac priced at Rs 2,800 per 100g vial, but now reduced to Rs 899), Cipla (Cipremi at Rs 4,000), Jubilant Lifesciences (Jubi-R at Rs 4,700), Mylan (Mylan Esrem at Rs 4,800), Hetero Labs (Covifor at Rs 5,400), Dr Reddy's (Redyx at Rs 5,400) and Syngene International.