Amid India’s second COVID-19 wave, multiple social media users shared a message claiming Remdesivir can be purchased directly from Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra at the cost of Rs 899.
The message includes a list of required documents for the antiviral drug’s purchase and a link to the Bureau Pharma PSUs of India’s website.
Newschecker received this message on its Whatsapp tip line (9999499044) for verification. The entire message reads as follows:
Anyone requiring injection Remdesivir can get @ Rs 899/- as against Rs.4000/- to 50000/- charged by medical shops.
You can purchase it directly from Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra.
1) Patient’s Aadhar card
2) Covid positive report
3) ORIGINAL Doctors prescription
4) aadhar card of person taking medicine
Please share in all your groups to help others.
The claim in context was also shared by Facebook and Twitter users.
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Fact Check / Verification
On going through the list of medicines on PM Jan Aushadhi website’s we could not find Remdesivir on it.
In April 2021, the Centre said doctors should ensure “rational and judicious” use of the antiviral drug Remdesivir, stressing its use for only serious COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
At a press conference in April, NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul said, “Remdesivir is to be used only in those who require hospitalisation and are on oxygen support. That is the precondition. There is no question of its use in the home setting and for mild cases, and it is not to be procured from chemist shops,” reported Business Standard.
Times of India and Asian News International also reported on Dr Paul’s comments on use of the antiviral drug.
Remdesivir’s Selling Price
The seven companies producing “Remdesivir in India cut prices by an average of 39% as the use of the drug shot up amid a surge in Covid-19 infections across the country,” reads a report by Hindustan Times.
One of the companies, Zydus Cadila, reduced its price from ₹2,800 for a 100mg vial to ₹899, while Dr Reddy’s price went from ₹5,400 per vial to ₹2,700.
These prices were cut by 25-75% after reports on shortages and black marketing of the antiviral drug surfaced and the government finally intervened to make it more affordable.
More details and the list of revised prices by the licensed companies can be read in this Mint’s story.
Therefore, the claim misleads to say the injectable Remedesvir can be bought at the one price of Rs 899. It’s clear that only Zydus Cadila of the seven licensed companies is selling the drug for the lowest amount of Rs 899.
Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra
The Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendras are generic drug stores set up at various locations across the country under a scheme called Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP). The aim is to bring quality medicines to citizens at affordable prices. This project was launched by the Government of India in 2008.
The list of generic medicines available in these kendras can be found here. Remdesivir is not included in this list. Additionally, a list of stores located across the country can be found via link in the claim.
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Remdesivir cannot be purchased directly from Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendras at the cost of Rs 899. It’s to be used only for serious COVID-19 patients in the hospitals, and not for use at home.
PM Jan Aushadhi: https://pmjay.gov.in/sites/default/files/2020-08/Janaushadhi-generic-list.pdf
Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendras: http://janaushadhi.gov.in/pmjy.aspx
Business Standard: https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/remdesivir-not-for-home-use-meant-for-serious-patients-says-govt-121041301075_1.html
Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/remdesivir-not-for-home-use-meant-for-hospitalised-patients-government/articleshow/82054451.cms
Hindustan Times: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/seven-pharma-firms-slash-prices-of-remdesivir-after-govt-intervention-101618684761815.html
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