US authorities seize unauthorized shipments of Covid drug remdesivir from India, Bangladesh

US federal authorities have seized at the country’s airports unauthorized versions of the Covid-19 drug  Remdesivir airlifted from India and Bangladesh and destined for distribution in Mexico, a media report said

Jun 24, 2021
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US authorities seize unauthorized shipments of Covid drug

US federal authorities have seized at the country’s airports unauthorized versions of the Covid-19 drug  Remdesivir airlifted from India and Bangladesh and destined for distribution in Mexico, a media report said.

Counterfeit or generic versions of Remdesivir, an antiviral manufactured by Gilead Sciences Inc., have been arriving in the US by plane from Bangladesh and India and are being smuggled by individuals to Mexico for patients willing to pay top dollar for the drugs, people familiar with the investigation told Wall Street Journal.

In recent months, US Customs and Border Protection officers have captured more than 100 shipments that they referred to U.S. Department of Homeland Security special agents for further investigation, according to the people.

The confiscated items are being tested to determine whether they are counterfeit or generic.

Generic forms of remdesivir aren’t licensed for use in the U.S. or Mexico. In most circumstances, it is illegal in the US to market or import unlicensed prescription drugs, the report said.

Demand is high for Gilead’s remdesivir in Mexico because the country only recently cleared its use.

No arrests have been made, and more details were unavailable because the investigation is ongoing, the people said.

Companies in India, Egypt and Pakistan are manufacturing generic forms of Remdesivir, after Gilead last year agreed to license production through a program that the company says has enabled more than 2.3 million people in more than 60 developing countries to use the drugs.

(SAM)

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