August 6, 2021, 12:02 am
The ‘unauthorized or generic’ version of the widely used antiviral drug remedicavir is being smuggled from Bangladesh and India to Mexico via the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to a report in the newspaper, citing investigators, a ‘fake or generic version’ of Remdesivir made by Gilead Sciences in the United States is being flown to the United States from Bangladesh and India. It is then shipped to Mexico, where many patients are buying the drug at exorbitant prices.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection unit has seized hundreds of such shipments in the past few months. Homeland Security detectives have been assigned to investigate. Homeland Security is examining whether the seized remedies are counterfeit or made in a generic formula.
Various companies in Bangladesh and India have approval to make generic remedies. However, those drugs are not allowed to be sold or used in the United States or Mexico. In this regard, the Gilead authorities said that they have warned against the collection of any medicine outside the approved and legal supply system. They will continue to support the steps that U.S. law enforcement will take to protect patients.
The Wall Street Journal writes that counterfeit or unlicensed drugs are usually smuggled into the United States with the name of another drug on the container, which is not a barrier to selling there. Attempts are sometimes made to take unlicensed drugs in the name of water or saline solution. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the smuggling market sells more than 200 billion worth of drugs a year.
No specific drug has yet been developed to treat coronavirus that has devastated the world. However, one of the oldest drugs used in the treatment of patients with complex cavities in the hospital is remedial. These antiviral drugs do not work directly against the coronavirus, but are thought to help relieve some of the symptoms of the infection, leading several countries, including the United States, to approve the use of the drug on Kavid patients. However, the World Health Organization has voted against its use.
The Wall Street Journal reports that demand for the drug has risen sharply since Mexico recently approved the use of remediation for Kavid patients. Mexico’s pharmaceutical regulator has said it is concerned about such counterfeit drugs and will work with US authorities.