Black marketing of Remdesivir: DCGI again sounds alert to SLAs

In light of reports of shortages of remdesivir, Union health ministry had also communicated to all the states and Union Territories (UTs) governments


The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has once again sounded an alert to all the state licensing authorities (SLAs) to stop hoarding / black marketing of C-19 drug remdesivir for its accessibility to C-19 patients and hospitals.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Principal Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas has also written to the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other stakeholders including Secretary, Medical Education Department, Municipal Commissioner and Divisional Commissioner that all drug retailers in the state till some other alternate mechanism is worked out have to mandatorily dispense the C-19 drug remdesivir only if it is accompanied with a valid prescription as per the format shared with all the concerned to curtail unethical practices and its misuse.

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VG Somani DCGI
Dr. VG Somani, DCGI

As per a DCGI notice, “It has been brought to the notice of the DCGI office that many family members of C-19 patients have raised concerns highlighting that remdesivir is once again being sold above maximum retail price (MRP) and in some cases as high as over 10 times.”

In light of reports of shortages of remdesivir, Union health ministry had also communicated to all the states and Union Territories (UTs) governments regarding various steps initiated including direction already given to the enforcement staff or drug inspectors to verify stock and check other malpractices including action taken to curb hoarding and black marketing with along with review with the concerned drug inspectors in the states and UTs, the notice stated.

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In view of the same, SLAs have been urged to instruct enforcement staff immediately to keep strict vigil especially at sensitive places and to take stringent action against black marketing and overcharging for remdesivir by conducting special drive of monitoring and investigation.

Injection remdesivir has been given emergency use authorization for the treatment of C-19 and very clear detailed clinical protocol has been prescribed by the state task force as well as ICMR for its rational and optimal use. The clinical protocols and indications have already been circulated and are also being reiterated again.

“Last few days, it has been seen that there are huge crowds outside drug retail shops in the state asking for remdesivir Injection. It is unnecessarily leading to lot of panic as every drug has its own usage and limitations.

Remdesivir has demonstrated that it reduces the duration of stay in the hospital but has no effect whatsoever on the mortality due to C-l9 infection and this needs to be highlighted. Further, it is of use only if prescribed in the initial few days based on indications.

cSeparate review is being taken of the producer companies as well as with Government of India officials to streamline the supplies. It is also necessary that treating doctors and physicians follow the protocol and we also verify the genuineness of need for the prescription and also the identity of the patient,” as per the letter of Maharashtra Principal Secretary to the Maharashtra FDA.

“Earlier in the month of October, 2020, Government of Maharashtra had come out with a scheme of supplying injection remdesivir to private hospitals at fixed costs and it had a very good effect,” the letter further stated.

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