Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday warned that stern action will be initiated against those found hoarding and black-marketing Covid drug remedesvir.
Bommai, who was campaigning for the party for the April 17 bypoll to the Basavakalyana Assembly seat in Bidar, told reporters that he had contacted Health Minister K. Sudhakar to know about whether there was any shortage of this life-saving drug, but was assured that there are sufficient stocks.
“Based on my interaction with him, I can safely maintain that there is no shortage of this drug, but if anyone is trying to make misuse of pandemic times by black-marketing, then all those will be punished severely,” he said.
He said that the government will take necessary steps to check demand and the supply chain.
“We will keep track right from pharmaceutical companies to hospitals under the Epidemic Act. Therefore, I am warning those who are trying to play any hide and seek game here will not be spared,” he said in response to a question.
The state government cannot allow black-marketers and hoarders to have free run during the times of crisis like this.
“With the second wave kicking in, I am convening a meeting of state police top brass on Friday to discuss strategies to nab those who are trying to create fake scarcity of this drug,” he said.
In response to a question, Bommai said that he was confident that year-long experience of fighting Covid had prepared them well enough to tackle the issue.
A section of media had reported that both private and government hospitals in the state had been asking attendants of patients to procure the medicine from outside. Having no information on the availability of the drug, several people made frantic calls and visits to multiple medical stores to procure it, and in desperation, many even shelled out up to Rs 9,600 per vial, roughly about 200-300 per cent of the actual price of the medicine.
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 (price could not be ascertained).