Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, on Saturday, warned that selling Remdesivir and oxygen cylinders at exorbitant prices in the state will attract police action under the Goondas Act. His warning comes at a time when the state police have arrested several people for allegedly selling Remdesivir in the black market at inflated prices amid a surge in demand for the life-saving oxygen.
In order to prevent crowding of people due to the huge demand of Remdesivir in Tamil Nadu, the state government shifted the sales counter for the drug to Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai. However, hundreds of people thronged the new counter on Saturday in an attempt to procure the drug for their loved ones. Stalin said that while the public have accepted the "bitter pill" of lockdown despite the curbs affecting their livelihood and have extended cooperation to save lives, some "anti-social elements" were hoarding the drug and selling it in the black market. Similarly, complaints are being received that at some places oxygen cylinders are being sold at high rates. Indulging in such acts during a pandemic is a severe crime," Stalin added.
He said that he has directed the state police department to initiate stringent action under the Goondas Act on those who hoard Remdesivir and sell oxygen cylinders at inflated prices.
Several experts and the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, government of Tamil Nadu have repeatedly said that Remdesivir is not a life-saving drug. Doctors have also said that there is no enough scientific evidence to say that Remdesivir plays a substantial role in the treatment of COVID-19. In fact, Remdesivir does not find a mention in the latest COVID-19 case management protocol released by the state government.