Only COVID-19 positive patients with doctor’s prescription, Aadhaar card, and a phone number will be allowed to buy coronavirus treatment drugs remdisivir and tocilizumab in Maharashtra.
To redress concerns of black marketing of medicines prescribed to treat COVID-19 patients, the Maharashtra government has made the rules of purchasing these drugs stricter.
Now, people will have to produce their Aadhaar cards, COVID-19 test result, and doctor’s prescription and contact number to buy the coveted medicines that are flying off the shelves fast, reported NDTV.
However, the black market sale of remdesivir and tocilizumab is not the only concern for the Maharashtra government. Serpentine queues have been seen outside medicine shops, with people waiting to buy the drugs. In a state that has reported more than two lakh coronavirus cases and continues to be the worst affected by the deadly virus, complaints about remdesivir shortage have become frequent.
To deal with all these problems amid the ongoing health crisis, the Minister for Food and Drugs Administration, Rajendra Shingne, announced that: “Only COVID-19 positive patients with doctor’s prescription, Aadhaar card, and a phone number only they can get the medicines. There is no need to panic. If anyone is charging extra for these medicines, please contact the government helpline, we will take action.”
Remdesivir, which is essentially an anti-viral drug, has proven very effective in treating coronavirus patients and was recently cleared for “restricted emergency use” in the country, to be administered only to very serious COVID-19 patients.
The drug is priced around Rs 5,000 per 100 mg vial but is being black sold in the black market for four to five times the price. The Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) has already raised concerns over the remdesivir black marketing issue and has directed all states to keep “strict vigil” to ensure the drug is not sold above the maximum retail price.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here