By News Wire Reporter
A day after National Drug Authority (NDA) sanctioned a local herbal medicine, Covidex, for treatment of viral infections, the price of the 20ml bottles has spontaneously shot up.
The rush by Ugandans to secure the medicine since Tuesday following the NDA announcement has seen an increase in prices 40 times more than the original price.
Covidex was introduced to the market at shs 3000, a month ago prompting NDA and other health officials to declare the drug illegal.
June 14, NDA asked the manufacturer of the drug to cease sales citing safety concerns because the medicine has not yet been approved.
However, the earlier instruction hadn’t affected the mass production, sales and huge demand of the drug developed by Mbarara University scientist, Prof. Patrick Ogwang.
At the time, many Covid-19 patients made confessions how Covidex had expedited their healing processes particularly those who treated the virus from home amid rising deaths of patients admitted in hospitals.
The confessions triggered more demand.
The single bottle was priced between shs 10000 and 30000 until government authorized the use on Monday.
Because there are no specific offices where Covidex is sold, Ugandans have since taken to social media to look for the medicine.
“I have the medicine and I am selling the bottles at Shs at 50k, I am in Kiwatule,” a seller posted on WhatsApp group shortly after the NDA announcement.
By Tuesday evening, the price had risen to shs 80,000 if the buyer needed more than 10 bottles.
By Wednesday morning, some of the sellers who only advertised the drug on whatsapp groups said they were selling it at shs 100,000.
The medicine was later advertised on Jumia online shopping with a price tag of 110,000 but later offered a discount of 27% (80,000).
This website has also learnt that the drug, which users claim to be “very effective” against Covid-19 symptoms such as flu, has been ferried to different parts of the country as demand soars.
Prof. Ogwang, the developer assured the public that the medicine is effective in managing the Covid-19 virus.
“I can confirm that the President has been talking to various scientists, including Prof Ogwang about developing a Covid cure. This process is still ongoing. The President, however, has not cleared any drugs for production,” Ms Lindah Nabusayi, the senior press secretary to the President told the media last week.