Weeks after a copycat version of Gilead Sciences remdesivir was launched in the country, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has written to the authorities concerned in the States and Union Territories to ensure that the COVID-19 drug is not sold above its MRP (maximum retail price).
“You are requested to instruct your enforcement officials to keep strict vigil on the matter to prevent black marketing and sale of drug remdesivir injection above MRP,” the DCGI has said in a communication to Drug Controllers in the States and UTs.
This follows community social media platform Local Circle writing to the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority, Department of Consumer Affairs, and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the black marketing and overpricing of remdesivir by unscrupulous persons.
In the letter, Local Circle, citing comments received from citizens, said, “The MRP of remdesivir marketed by Hetero Healthcare is ₹5,400 (per vial), but consumers have reported it being sold at a price anywhere between ₹15,000 to ₹60,000...”
Besides Hetero, Cipla and Mylan Laboratories have received DCGI approval for their generic versions of the drug. The approval is for restricted emergency use on COVID-19 patients in the country. Mylan had recently said it will be launch the product (100 mg/vial) under the brand name Desrem this month, at ₹4,800 each.
The DCGI letter to the Drug Controllers in States and UTs mentioned the approval for the drug and the companies that had been issued permissions. It highlighted the need for immediate enforcement to stop the sale of COVID-19 drug remdesivir above MRP.