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China COVID-19 surge: People turn to black market for generic Indian drugs China COVID Surge
File photo of a Chinese medicine store by Alvinbeta2 via Wikimedia Commons

China COVID-19 surge: People turn to black market for generic Indian drugs

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 29 Dec 2022, 01:25 pm

Beijing: Chinese residents are turning to the black market for generic Covid-19 drugs as the country is combating the rise in infection in the country, media reports said on Wednesday.

China approved two Covid-19 antivirals this year – Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Azvudine, an HIV drug from Chinese firm Genuine Biotech. But both are only available in certain hospitals, South China Morning Post reported.

Their limited supply and steep price have driven many Chinese to opt for cheaper but illegally imported generic drugs from India.

Topics like “anti-Covid Indian generic drugs sold at 1,000 yuan (US$144) per box” have been trending on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, with users exchanging messages and tips on ways to get hold of the medicines, the newspaper reported.

Incidentally,  four kinds of generic anti-Covid drugs from India are being sold illegally in the Chinese market – under the brand names Primovir, Paxista, Molnunat and Molnatris.

The Chinese government has not approved Indian generics and selling them is considered punishable.