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Centre suspends 3 scientists over fake Remdesivir sale in Covid 2nd wave

by Pragati Singh

According to a report in Mint, the Drugs Controller General of India, V G Somani, and three senior scientists at the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) were suspended after an investigation revealed that counterfeit Remdesivir antivirals were sold during the second wave of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The CDL is India’s top laboratory and is in charge of examining the quality of medicines and vaccines. According to government sources, it has now come to light that the three suspended scientists purposely put off performing comparable testing on Remdesivir. The development occurs at a time when the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization has been shaken by bribery suspicions (CDSCO).

Remdesivir was once hailed as a “miracle medication,” but the researchers didn’t report their findings to CDSCO until after the sample had expired. The drug regulator approved Remdesivir’s limited emergency usage in 2020 for people with coronaviruses. Before the WHO issued a warning against its usage, former US president Donald Trump took the injectable Remdesivir for the first time after contracting the infection.

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In an interview with Mint, one of the govt officials stated, “CDL Kolkata is an apex lab for quality check of life-saving drugs, medicines and vaccines. They have to submit a quality compliance report to the CDSCO in a timely manner. However, during the covid pandemic, such reports were allowed to be submitted in a fast-track manner.” He further added that in the case of Remdesivir, the report was delayed intentionally for a period of nine months.

Last month, the health ministry received a tip about it, and as a result, Union Health Minister Mandaviya initiated an inquiry. The Remdesivir sample was shown to be fake throughout the inquiry, and the three suspended scientists were caught trying to hide the information.

Now, the DGCI has also received a strong warning, instructing it to prevent such occurrences from occurring in the future. Additionally, the health ministry has directed V G Somani to frequently check on the performance of central labs, which are in charge of ensuring the quality of life-saving medications.

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