A post claiming that Remdesivir can be purchased directly via Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra at ₹ 899 as against ₹ 4000 charged by medical shops is being shared on social media platforms. Let us verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: Remdesivir Injection can be purchased directly from Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra for ₹899 as against ₹4000 charged by medical shops.
Fact: Remdesivir cannot be purchased directly from Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra. This anti-viral drug is not part of the list of generic medicines given on the Jan Aushadhi government website. The claim that Remdesivir can be purchased at ₹899 is also misleading, as only one Indian manufacturer (out of seven) has slashed its price earlier in March. Hence the claim is MISLEADING.
If one goes through the list of generic medicines given on PM Jan Aushadhi Website, it is clear that Remdesivir is not part of this list. Further, the news agency ANI quoted Dr. VK Paul, Member-Health, NITI Aayog, who said that Remdesivir should not be procured from chemist shops.
What is a Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra?
The Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras are generic drug stores set up across the country under the scheme by the same name. They provide generic drugs, available at lower prices but equivalent in quality & efficacy as expensive branded drugs. These Janaushadhi Kendras have been setup under the scheme Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana, launched in the year 2008.
A list of all the generic drugs available in these kendras is can be found online. Remdesivir is not part of the list of drugs available in these stores. Further, the list of these stores across the country is available here.
Claim that Remdesivir costs ₹899 is also Misleading.
Another claim that was made regarding cost of Remdesivir injection is also misleading. There are a total of seven Indian pharmaceutical companies that manufacture Remdesivir. Their combined production capacity is 3.9 million vials a month. Recently, in the month of March, Zydus Cadila – one of the manufacturers – slashed the price for a 100mg vial from ₹ 2800 to ₹ 899. Hence, the claim that Remdesivir is simply available at a price of ₹ 899 is misleading. Only Zydus Cadila had reduced the price, not the other manufacturers of Remdesivir. An article by the Mint talks about the situation of Remdesivir in the country including the details of manufacturers and prices of various brands.
To sum it up, Remdesivir cannot be directly purchased from the Jan Aushadhi Kendras as it is not available in these stores. Further, the cost of a Remdesivir injection need not be ₹ 899, because the cost depends on the manufacturer. Only Zydus Cadila had slashed its price to ₹899 earlier in the month of March.