State to check black marketing of remdesivir and tocilizumab

Information on rates, availability of drugs used in COVID-19 fight to be made public

Published - July 18, 2020 12:56 am IST - Mumbai

Rajendra Shingne

Rajendra Shingne

State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Minister Rajendra Shingne on Friday said FDA officials have been instructed to check black marketing of remdesivir and tocilizumab — two drugs essential for treatment of COVID-19 patients — and ensure they are not sold at high prices.

Mr. Shingne, who chaired a meeting of manufacturers and distributors of both the medicines, said a toll-free number 1800222365 has been opened to lodge complaints regarding the black marketing of the medicines.

The State government also said the availability of the two drugs will be increased in the coming days as their production is set to rise. The State will also be making public the information on the rates and availability of all drugs used in the fight against novel coronavirus.

Officials said at present, both the drugs are manufactured outside Maharashtra. Remdesivir is manufactured at Hetero Healthcare in Hyderabad and Cipla in Goa, while tocilizumab is imported by M/s Rosch and Cipla distributes it.

The minister said since the import of tocilizumab is limited, there is an equivalent to it — itiozulmab from Biocon. “This other medicine can be used on doctor’s prescription. Since the medicines are in shortage, we have directed that these are used only for critical patients,” Mr. Shingne said.

He said production of remdesivir is set to increase from Gujarat through Hereto Healthcare. “Another company called M/s Moylon from Gujarat is also going to bring remdesivir in the market,” Mr. Shingne said.

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