Coronavirus-fighting HIV drug Kaletra emerges on Russian black market

NEW YORK POST:

The Russian Health Ministry recommended it as a possible treatment – but then cautioned that its effectiveness was uncertain, Reuters reported.

black market has emerged in Russia for an antiviral HIV drug being tested around the world as a possible treatment for COVID-19, according to a report.

After reports from China that Kaletra was beneficial against the illness caused by the coronavirus, the Russian Health Ministry recommended it as a possible treatment – but then cautioned that its effectiveness was uncertain, Reuters reported.

More than 20 trials are being conducted globally on Kaletra, which is produced as the generic Kalidavir in Russia, both as a treatment or post-exposure prophylaxis, the news outlet reported.

But speculators have jumped on the bandwagon amid fears that the drug might eventually be in short supply, according to Reuters, which interviewed sellers, HIV activists and the head of the drug’s main Russian producer.

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One Russian HIV activist told Reuters that speculators were trying to buy Kaletra from HIV patients for 3,000 – or $40 — roubles a box.

The activist, who asked to be identified only by his first name Alexei, runs a “back-up medicine cabinet” with a network of patients in 20 cities.

“Messages and calls started coming in from people saying they were ready to purchase these medicines,” Alexei told Reuters. “They are resellers and middlemen … They are ready to buy everything, down to the last box. We tell them to shove off.”

R-Pharm chief Alexei Repik said Kaletra has been seen for the first time being sold illegally in pharmacies without a prescription.

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