Labels peeled off empty Remdesivir vials to avoid misuse

Fraudsters filling empty vials with saline and selling them

Published - May 08, 2021 11:02 pm IST - HYDERABAD

With shortage of the drug, people are even buying it from the black market.

With shortage of the drug, people are even buying it from the black market.

Yes, it is true. Labels are being peeled off empty Remdesivir vials before discarding them at a few government hospitals to avoid misuse by fraudsters.

Earlier, vials of medicines were discarded as part of biomedical waste without removing the labels. But, with instances of fraudsters selling the anti-viral vials filled with saline or distilled water have put hospitals on alert.

With shortage of the drug, scores of families are desperately searching for Remdesivir vials and some have even bought it from the black market, which opens the possibility for unethical people to cash in on the high demand.

At Government General and Chest Hospital, Erraggada, the vials are placed in water mixed with chemicals for disinfection. This process also helps in removing the labels.

A few days ago, five persons sold Remdesivir vials filled with saline, which came to the notice of police in Mysuru, and some other places.

“We got to know of instances in other States where some unscrupulous elements are filling the empty vials with saline and selling them to desperate family members. So, we are removing the labels from the empty vials,” said a senior doctor of Chest Hospital.

Before the antiviral drug is given to a patient, details of the patient, requirement and other facts are noted down. After use, the empty vials have to be returned to the official concerned at hospitals.

At Gandhi Hospital, parameters of patients such as IL-6 and D-Dimer levels, are considered before sanctioning the antiviral drug. The vials are issued in instalments of two, followed by one each for four more days, or based on requirement.

“After using a vial, labels of the vials have to be pasted on a patient’s case sheet and empty vials have to be handed over. New vials are issued after cross checking this,” said Dr. T Prabhakar Reddy, nodal officer for COVID at Gandhi Hospital.

Doctors have also raised complaints of one anti-viral vial sold in the black market at ₹20,000 to ₹30,000.

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