Covid-19: Maharashtra chemists demand ban on online sale of home self-test kits

Pune Chemists’ District Association General Secretary Anil Belkar said over three lakh home test kits had been sold in Pune district alone in the past 20-25 days.

Maharashtra has witnessed a sudden surge in demand for at-home antigen test kits amid the ongoing third wave of Covid-19, sparking concern in the Health Department. (File)
Maharashtra has witnessed a sudden surge in demand for at-home antigen test kits amid the ongoing third wave of Covid-19, sparking concern in the Health Department. (File)

The Maharashtra State Chemists’ and Druggists’ Association has urged the state government to prevent the sale of home Covid-19 self-test kits online.

The association said offline retail chemists should not be asked to submit records of sale if the rule also didn’t apply to online forums, The Indian Express reported.

In a letter to the Food and Drugs Administration, Maharashtra State Chemists’ and Druggists’ Association Secretary Anil Navandar said it was unfair that the rules were applicable only to offline retail chemists.

Recently, the Maharashtra government had directed district collectors to take help of the Food and Drugs Administration to monitor the sale of home self-test kits at pharmacies and medical shops to understand the areas where they were being used on a large scale.

Chemists told The Indian Express that they were educating and informing people purchasing these kits to report positive results to the authorities.

Pune Chemists’ District Association General Secretary Anil Belkar said over three lakh home test kits had been sold in Pune district alone in the past 20-25 days. Belkar said the shops were maintaining records of the purchasers and asked why the same rule did not apply for online sales.

The association has urged the Food and Drugs Administration to stop the online sale of home test kits and said they would also reconsider the rule to maintain records if the government failed to do so.

Maharashtra has witnessed a sudden surge in demand for at-home antigen test kits amid the ongoing third wave of Covid-19, sparking concern in the Health Department. Health officials had told The Indian Express that many positive cases were not being reported as those testing positive were not informing the authorities. The issue had also been flagged by the national task force on Covid-19.

The Indian Express reported that MyLab Discovery Solutions had witnessed a nearly 200% surge in demand for its CoviSelf test kit during the third wave. However, at present, the Health Department has no mechanism to record positive cases, leading to under-reporting of the actual daily cases.

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