While there is growing concern over the unavailability of Remdesivir vials, some pharmacists are doing black-marketing on WhatsApp, while half a dozen states are currently reporting a shortage.
A person named Niraj Dnyaneshwar Khalkar, of Lakshya Pharma, is marketing Remdesivir on social media networks and WhatsApp, asking customers to call on 7387418909 for delivery of the vial.
There many forwards doing round that says Remdesivir is available to buy with them, but on the other hand black-marketing of Remdesivir has rampant in the city. This is a matter of concern since many who received the first dose in the first week of March when the vaccination drive started are supposed to take the second dose this week or in the next few days as per the vaccine protocol issued by the Health Ministry.
Recently Tulinj police arrested three people from Mira Road in Thane district of Maharashtra for black-marketing Remdesivir. The police also recovered three vials of Remdesivir and stock worth Rs 2.25 lakh from their possession. Police officer Rajendra Kamble said, “The detained accused were selling a vial of a Remdesivir for Rs 12,500.”
The officer continued, “This gang was eyeing the people in search of vaccines and the rates were quoted as per the emergency of buyer”.
Later Tulinj police had laid a trap on the orders of Mira Bhayandar Police, sent a fake customer for the purchase of Remedesivir vials and caught them. Earlier on Monday, Mumbai Police and Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) teams raided two locations and recovered 2,200 vials of Remdesivir.
The demand for Remdesivir has increased in India and the hospitals have been grappling with depleting supply of the antiviral drug amid surging COVID-19 cases. India is currently witnessing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Afternoon Voice called Lakshya Pharma posing as a patient, first they asked how much supply and where we want the delivery. Then they said each vial would cost Rs 10,000, after a lot of bargaining they came down to a final price of Rs 9000. We thought they would ask us to transfer money but surprisingly their phone was switched off ever since we contacted them.
Similarly, main agents are making rounds around hospitals for the black-marketing of vaccines. Oxygen, essential drugs and now vaccines, everything is easily available in the black market.