In Depth: Where Do Fake Covid Drugs Come From?
The rapid unwinding of China’s Covid restrictions last month triggered a wave of stockpiling of antiviral drugs including Paxlovid, but access to the treatment has been limited due to low domestic supply. That opened the door to a thriving black market for Indian generic versions and copies that turned out to be fake.
Pfizer Inc.’s Paxlovid was initially available at prices of 1,890 yuan ($279) to 3,000 yuan for a five-day course of 30 pills only through designated Covid hospitals and some high-end private hospitals. Although Pfizer has increased supplies and the Chinese government has been pushing to make the drug more widely available, only a small number of residents can get their hands on it. Consequently, many people are turning to overseas straw buyers.
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