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Gujarat Govt Forms Panel to Check on Use of Tocilizumab in Surat Over Black Marketing Charges

Representative Image
(Photo: Reuters)

Representative Image (Photo: Reuters)

The drug is in high demand, as private doctors were prescribing it to almost every COVID-19 patient, which is not advisable, principal secretary (health) Jayanti Ravi said.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: July 9, 2020, 9:03 PM IST
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Following allegations of black marketing and injudicious use of Tocilizumab injection for COVID-19 treatment, the Gujarat government has formed a committee to keep a check on its use in Surat, an official said on Thursday.

The drug is in high demand, as private doctors were prescribing it to almost every COVID-19 patient, which is not advisable, principal secretary (health) Jayanti Ravi said.

"To stop this practice, we have formed a committee of three expert doctors for Surat. The panel will check case papers, co-morbidity and other aspects before giving their approval for the use of the injection," Ravi said.

Earlier in the day, the Gujarat Congress had alleged that crucial drugs such as Tocilizumab and Remdesivir are being black-marketed right under the nose of BJP government and eligible patients are deprived of them.

Meanwhile, state commissioner of the Food and Drug Control Administration HG Koshia on Thursday admitted that some elements were engaged in black marketing of Tocilizumab that costs around Rs 40,000 for per vial.

"Since it is being prescribed heavily, this drug is being black marketed. This injection is only for patients who are in a critical condition," he said.

The FDA has lodged a case against a wholesaler in Surat for selling one vial for Rs 57,000, he said, adding that three illegally acquired vials were also seized from the dealer.

Based on a specific tip off, FDCA officials raided Sarthak Pharma in Surat on Wednesday and found that a vial of Tocilizumab injection was being sold for Rs 57,000, much higher than its retail price of Rs 40,545, Koshia said.

The probe revealed that the owner of Sarthak Pharma had purchased it from another medical shop for Rs 50,000 and that retailer had procured it from an Ahmedabad-based man for Rs 40,000, the official said.

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