Due to a shortage of Remdesivir, caregivers of COVID-19 patients were coming to Chennai from other districts to buy the drug.

People waiting outside the KMC to buy Remdesivir
news COVID-19 Saturday, May 08, 2021 - 14:39

Government hospitals in Salem, Trichy, Tirunelveli and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu will now open counters to sell Remdesivir to patient caregivers.. The announcement was made by the new Health Minister Ma Subramanian after he took charge on Friday. Tamil Nadu has been facing an acute shortage of Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug prescribed to COVID-19 patients.

The 6-vial injection is out of stock in the private sector. In Chennai, the Kilpauk Medical College, a government hospital, opened two counters to sell Remdesivir in April to address the scarcity. KMC has been seeing huge crowds of people waiting outside these counters everyday to buy Remdesivir. TNM spoke to many patient caregivers who said that they had to wait for hours to reach these counters, and added that there was no way to find the medicine outside of the KMC.

Also read: Caregivers of COVID-19 patients rush to Chennai from other districts to buy Remdesivir

People have also travelled from other districts to Chennai in order to buy Remdesivir, due to its unavailability there. “I searched in private hospitals and pharmacies for Remdesivir in Salem. It was totally out of stock. Forget the private sector, even government hospitals said they did not have the medicine and asked me to buy it from Chennai. So I travelled from Salem and waited outside KMC for two days to buy the drug,” said Sivaraman, whose two aunts tested positive for the coronavirus and were admitted in Salem.

Shortage of Remdesivir has also led to a thriving black market, where the drug is being sold for Rs 20,000 a vial. At the KMC, the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation is supplying the drug and charging Rs 9,400 for six vials. Fake Remdesivir vials are also being sold in the black market.

On Tuesday, a doctor and a pharmacist were arrested in Chennai for selling Remdesivir on the black market. The police recovered 24 vials of Remdesivir which cost Rs 700 each, from their possession. The duo had reportedly been selling the drug for Rs 20,000 per vial.