Ramdesivir: black market thrives with rising in COVID-19 cases

#Rs 1.5 L for six units of Ramdesivir injection

Bokaro: Amidst the rampant spread of Coronavirus infections, Bokaro district (Jharkhand) is facing a huge scarcity of Remdesivir injections, the essential drug required for the treatment of patients suffering from COVID-19, who are admitted to hospitals.

For the past several months, all government and private hospitals, nursing homes, medical stores were running out of stock with this drug; the demand for Remdesivir has surged in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic. People in need are facing it very hard to get it.

Many brands of Ramdesivir injections brought from other districts were being sold between Rs 17,000 to Rs 19,000 while six units up to Rs 1.5 lakhs here at Bokaro the government-set price.

The price of Remdesivir injection reduced after the government’s intervention on 17 April, in a bid to make it more affordable for patients.

On anonymity, one relative of a patient, admitted at a local hospital, told, four days earlier, I bought two units of the injection from Dhanbad after paying 16,000 rupees from a medical store. Four units are required more, and we are struggling hard to get that, he said.

Another person who got the injection said, the day before yesterday, I got the Ramdesivir injections with the help of a Drug Inspector. But he refused to tell the price on which he got the drug.

One another person Vikas, who is running from pillar to post to get the vaccine said, yesterday I met with a man (inside the Sadar Hospital premises) who assured me but he was asking for 1.45 lakhs rupees for the injections.

Vinod, a resident of Jhopri Colony, told  “I was at a medical store near the petrol pump in Sector 4 to buy medicines for my mother. She is a cardiac and diabetic patient, and I was there to buy Istamet, Volibo, Glycomate, Roseday and Lantus injections for her. Suddenly a representative (supplier) rushed there and asked the shopkeeper whether he needs Ramdesivir injections without a price tag? But the shopkeeper refused to buy.”

“When I asked him, he told me we would sell only to the retails, not to the end-users,” he said.

Meanwhile, all other essential medicines related to the treatment of COVID-19 are also being sold like hot cakes in the city. Most medicines like Azithromycin, Cetrizine, Vitamin C, Zinc, and multivitamin tablets go out of stock in several medical shops in the City Center market on Sunday.

“I bought two units of Zinc and multivitamin tables (Rs 250 each unit) from a generic drug sell point at Sector 1,” said Alok, a resident of Sector 4 in Bokaro Steel City.

Admitting the shortage and high pricing of the drug Civil Surgeon Bokaro, AK Pathak said, we are getting a very short supply of the injection. “At once, we can only get a limited stock of 4-5 vials, which exhausts immediately,” he added.

A section of doctors says that due to a shortage of injection in the market, dealers or vendors are quoting high prices.

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