Amidst the 2nd wave of Coronavirus outbreak in India, miscreants are exploiting the acute shortage of the life-saving Remdesivir injection. Several cases of black marketing have come to light. The drug used for treating Coronavirus patients with severe co-morbidities is being sold illegally at high prices. At the same time, fake Remdesivir injections are also doing the rounds amidst rising Covid cases.
On Monday (April 26), IPS officer Monica Bhardwaj took to Twitter to help families of Coronavirus infected patients distinguish between fake and genuine Remdesivir injections. She is the DCP of the Delhi Police Crime Branch. IPS Monica Bhardwaj has pointed out a total of 6 identifiers that can help differentiate between a counterfeit and authentic Remdesivir jab.
According to her, a fake Remdesivir vial will not have the word ‘Rx‘ in it. Derived from the Latin word ‘recipe’, it is used as a customary heading in each prescription. Second, the fake Remdesivir vials will have several Capitalisation errors. In images shared by the IPS officer, it can be seen that the words ‘100 mg/vial’, ‘india’, ‘for use in’ are written in small letters. A genuine Remdesivir package will instead have the words written as ‘100mg/Vial’, ‘India’, ‘For use in’, and so on.
Attention!!— Monika Bhardwaj (@manabhardwaj) April 26, 2021
Lookout for these details before buying Remdesivir from the market. pic.twitter.com/A2a3qx5GcA
Third, a fake package will have multiple alignment errors. For instance, the fake vial (as seen in the image) has an increased gap around the Company name label ‘Covifor’. Fourth, the warning label in a genuine package of Remdesivir will be in red while a fake one may be of a different colour altogether.
Fifth, an original package will have the key licensing information ”Gilead Sciences, Inc” along with the brand name. It can be seen that this crucial information is missing from the fake package. Lastly, one must watch out for spelling mistakes. For instance, ‘Telangana’ in the counterfeit vial is written as ‘Telagana’.
In another tweet, Monica Bhardwaj clarified, “The tweet is for educational purposes. No such complaints received yet.” She had also shared the image of a genuine Remdesivir package for netizens to be able to visually distinguish it from the fake one.
Fake Remedsisvir racket busted in the constituency of NCP chief Sharad Pawar
After receiving a tip-off about black-marketing of Remdesivir, the Pune rural police arrested four persons for allegedly selling fake Remdesivir injections in the Baramati area. A police official informed that three injection vials labeled as Remdesivir, filled with a liquid form of paracetamol were seized from the accused. Baramati is the hometown of NCP chief Sharad Pawar who also represents it in the Lok Sabha.
Narayan Shirgavkar, deputy superintendent of police, Baramati division informed that the accused were selling the fake drug at ₹35,000 per vial while its authorized market price is ₹1,100. “We have arrested four people under relevant sections of the IPC, Essential Commodities Act, Drug & Cosmetics Act and Drugs (Price Control) Act,” he added. According to the information given by the police, Prashant Gharat (23), Shankar Bhise (22), Dilip Gaikwad (35) and Sandeep Gaikwad (20) have been arrested.
The four accused have sold seven duplicate injections to the relatives of Covid-19 positive patients until now. The police also fear that the patients to whom the fake injections were sold might develop some side effects. The police are now tracing the relatives of seven patients, to whom the injections have been sold. The arrests were made after laying a trap upon receiving information, where the police recovered two Remdesivir vials. The vial seal was broken when the injection was examined and injection holes were visible in the rubber caps.