As India continues to face the challenge of rising COVID-19 cases, another significant threat for all of us is the sale of fake medicine/medicinal equipment in the black market which can put hundreds of lives at risk.

As the demand for Remdesivir peaks in the backdrop of the killer second wave of the pandemic, fake Remdesivir packets have started circulating in the black market. Remdesivir is a drug widely used in hospitals for treatment of serious COVID-19 patients. But due to increased demand and acute shortage, the sale of counterfeit Remdesivir has also become a grave cause of concern.  

In this backdrop, it is important to be able to identify the fake injection from the real. So, here’s a cumulative list of some simple markers on the packaging that can be helpful in differentiating fake from real. 

How to spot fake Remdesivir? 

IPS officer Monika Bhardwaj has explained in her tweet how the packaging of fake Remdesivir has all the necessary clues. The officer has made note of nine errors that one can easily spot on the package of a fake Remdesivir drug.

Here are the nine points that could help you identify the fake Remdesivir. 

  1. The word “Rx” is not written right before the name of the injection on the fake Remdesivir box
  2. The third line on the box has a capitalization flaw. The original box says “100 mg/Vial”, while the counterfeit says “100 mg/vial”. 
  3. In the product’s market name, there is an alignment error. Take note of the difference between the packages of fake and real Remdesivir injections. The fake vial has a larger distance than the real one.
  4. On the fake box, there is another capitalization mistake below the brand name in “Vial/vial”. 
  5. Another capitalization mistake can be seen at the bottom of the fake Remdesivir package’s front page. The words “For use in” on the real medication packaging are changed to “for use in” on the fake drug package.
  6. The authentic kit has a red “Warning” sticker on the back of the packaging. A black alert sticker is on the fake one.
  7. The main details “Covifir (brand name) is manufactured under licence from Gilead Sciences, Inc” is absent from the fake injection kit just below the warning sticker.
  8. There is a capitalisation error in the text identifying the drug-maker, Hetero Labs. The fake Remdesivir package reads India as “india”.
  9. The full address on the box containing the fake Remdesivir injection contains a spelling mistake. Telangana is spelt “Telagana”.

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