BLACK MARKETING OF LIFE SAVING GOODS
In April and May, while most of India was under lockdown following Covid 2nd wave, patients waiting outside the hospitals for beds, their relatives rushing to arrange oxygen cylinders and injections, and the crematorium with numerous funeral pyres were common visuals.
As India was battling the life-threatening second wave peak of the Covid 19 pandemic, the lack of essential medical supplies for patients resulted in havoc when it comes to the procurement of these vital supplies.
The massive dearth of oxygen cylinders, then antiviral drug Remdesivir, tocilizumab injection, black fungus injection one after the other left thousands of Indians desperate to procure these drugs at any price asked. Sadly, profiteers found it to be a cashing opportunity knowing the urgency of these life-saving medicines. In these tough times, it is unfortunate that India is witnessing black marketing and hoarding of essential medical supplies surfacing the loopholes in the system.
People left no stones unturned to save their loved ones from this deadly disease. The entire world came forward to offer aid for these essential supplies.
Black marketing can be understood as a chain which includes procuring the goods from the market place in large quantity, and as a result, creating a scarcity of the goods in the market. And later when the demand for the product is high, these stored goods are brought back into the market at unimaginably higher profit margins.
Black marketing of essential goods like oxygen, ventilators, life-saving medicines, masks, sanitizers, and vaccines is the outcome of bad market practices prevailing in recent times. Several incidents came into the light where people were forced to pay thousands and lakhs for a medicine that costs just much lower. The shortage of essential goods like medicines and oxygen for common people raised the death toll much higher than anyone ever thought.
Fake Life-saving Drugs
Covid-19 has also given a unique opportunity for the trade of fake medicines to flourish. The scarcity of medicines and other essential supplies for Covid patients has become a breeding ground for counterfeit and fake medicines. Fake and substandard drugs were being sold in the markets at higher prices staking the lives of many. Manufacturing of duplicate products is done when the original is out of reach for black marketers or is available at a higher price.
This is a part of the black marketing chain that runs around in various developing nations. Duplicity gives them the benefit of using cheaper and inferior quality raw materials. While battling the second wave, there were several cases reported about the use of fake Remdesivir injections which is said to be crucial for the patients suffering from Covid. Many lost their lives just because they couldn’t get the authenticated drug in times of need.
Reasons for Shortage
Several factors had led to the shortage of these vital medical supplies. First one being the reduction in the production of these medicines towards the end of last year when the Covid scare was mild. Another reason is the breakdown of government in maintaining an emergency stock reserve as a preparedness routine for the second wave. The slow response of the government and manufacturers to the constantly rising Covid cases was also a major reason to blame for the shortage.
However, the second wave is now on its low but we need to remain cautious as there is a third wave that is predicted to hit the world hard in the second half of 2021. So as a precautionary measure, one should be aware and careful about the malpractices going around them and not be a part of illegal activities. Reporting any such practices to the Police will help in curbing down this menace of black marketing.