The Kolhapur Police's crime branch has arrested two persons for black marketing anti-viral drug Remdesivir. Based on information, the police arrested two individuals, Yogiraj Rajkumar Waghmare and Parag Vijaykumar Patil, and seized 11 bottles of injection from them.
Although it has been approved as an investigational drug for strict use under hospital conditions, Remdesivir has seen a surge in demand over the last few days as the country battles the second wave of COVID-19 cases, leading to its shortage.
Taking advantage of the scarcity, some people have been selling the medication at high prices in the black market. Remdesivir injections are being sold for as much as Rs 5,000-6,000 per injection in the black market.
With the increase in demand, the Centre has stepped in to ramp up the production of the drug as well as reduce its prices. Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya held meetings with drug manufacturers and other stakeholders on April 12 and 13 in which decisions were taken to increase the production and reduce prices of Remdesivir.
Following government's intervention, pharmaceutical companies manufacturing Remdesivir voluntarily slashed prices last week. The government has also banned exports of Remdisivir and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) used to make the medication.
Currently, seven Indian companies are producing Remdesivir injections under voluntary licensing agreement with US-based Gilead Sciences.