India continues to battle the COVID crisis and demand for oxygen, hospital beds, and Remdesivir injections continues to remain a challenge - one that the government is yet to overcome. Amidst the ongoing demand, the police have busted many black-marketing rackets involving the illegal trade of Remdesivir and there have been cases of fake anti-viral drugs being sold off to consumers. Now a new issue of fake Remdesivir has mounted.
As Remdesivir remains in high demand in treatment of COVID-19 patients, it is being sold under the name of Covifor. But some miscreants have been able to repackage fake Remdesivirs in an identical box. Now, a new Remdesivir drug has been found to be in circulation in several parts of India under a new name called Covipri.
The packaging of this new Remdesivir drug ticks off all the right boxes to appear as a legit drug at first glance. The packaging doesn't resemble Covifor, but gets a unique design, complete with a COVID-19 representation and "Make in India" logo at the back.
The Covipri has MSRP of Rs 5,400, which is the same price as Hetero Labs pricing of Covifor. This brand name was unheard of until recently.
International Business Times also reviewed Remdesivir sold under the name of Covipri. The packaging, as legit as it may seem, has many red flags. On the back of the packaging, the drug uses an address, which is partially Tamil Nadu. There are several spelling errors and grammatical mistakes on the package.
For instance, the front lower part of the package reads: "For used in India only" and not "For use in India only" as seen on the original Remdesivir packages. On the back, the caution reads: "it is a dangerous to take this preparation," with the unnecessary article in the phrase. Even the spelling of Manufactured is wrong on the package, which is spelled as "manufactered."
More importantly, the manufacturer is listed as "Pristine life sciences," which is not one of seven official and authorised Remdesivir manufacturers in India.
IPS officer Monika Bhardwaj also clarified that Remdesivir by the name COVIPRI is fake. "This complete racket has been busted but some injections may still be in circulation. Please do not buy from unverified sources," the DCP of Delhi Police Crime Branch said in a tweet.
Based on these observations, IBTimes has arrived at the conclusion that the Remdesivir drug under the name of COVIPRI is fake.