The Centre has asked states and union territories to ensure availability of the experimental drug remdesivir and prevent its black marketing.
In a letter dated April 7, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), VG Somani, had sought action over shortage of the drug and malpractices over its sale, The Print reported on Saturday.
“It has been brought to the notice of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that the states of Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior), Gujarat (Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot) and Maharashtra… are reporting a shortage of Remdesivir injection,” said the letter, accessed by the website. “This may lead to hoarding and black marketing.”
Somani asked authorities to “initiate immediate remedial action to ensure supply of remdesivir injection to public and private hospitals in the above-mentioned states as well as in other states”.
He also asked the states and UTs to “keep strict vigil so that any incidence of black-marketing and over-charging of the drugs is prevented”.
“Action taken in the matter may please be intimated to this office at the earliest.”
The letter was marked to zonal and sub-zonal drug regulators as well as the chairman of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.
Following the letter, the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists informed its 9.4 lakh members to not hoard stock “under any condition”.
“Since the situation is very critical and because of shortages our fraternity is getting blamed… Make medicines available for all needy patients,” said the April 9 letter by JS Shinde, president, and Rajiv Singhal, general secretary.