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Amidst shortage, black marketing of Remdesivir injections continues unabated: Here are the 5 cases reported in the last few days

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has called for stringent action against those found indulging in black marketing and hoarding of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir

As the number of Coronavirus cases in India zoom at an alarming rate, there is a sharp rise in the demand for the ‘miracle drug’ Remdesivir, considered by many as crucial in the treatment of COVID-19. The rising demand has resulted in an acute shortage of the drug, leading to its unbridled black-marketing in several parts of the country.

In the midst of a raging pandemic, some miscreants have used the shortages of Remdesivir injections to feather their nest by black marketing the key antiviral drug. With stocks of Remdesivir rapidly drying up from the market and its demand soaring uncontrollably, some individuals have used the opportunity to make profits by selling a counterfeit version of the drug.

Here are some of the cases of the black marketing of remdesivir injections reported from across the country:

Three people arrested from Madhya Pradesh’s Indore for black-marketing Remdesivir

The Madhya Pradesh Police’s Special Task Force(STF) on Thursday arrested a medical shop owner and two others for allegedly black marketing Remdesivir injections used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The arrested persons were identified as Rajesh Patidar, Gyaneshwar Baraskar and Anurag Singh Sisodia, senior police official Manish Khatri said.

“They were arrested based on a tip-off. The STF officials retrieved 12 vials of injections of two different brands from them. It was printed on the packet of these vials that they are meant ”for export only”,” he said.

Though the maximum sale price was not printed on them, they were trying to sell each injection at Rs 20,000, the official said.

Pharma company owner arrested in Indore for selling fake Remdesivir injections

On Thursday, the Crime Branch of Indore Police arrested a pharma company owner for allegedly selling counterfeit Remdesivir injections. The arrested man, identified as Vinay Shankar Tripathi, is accused of taking advantage of the situation by selling fake Remdesivir injections.

“Around 400 Remdesivir vials have been recovered from the accused’s car that were found to be fake after being investigated by the drug department. He owns a pharma company in Indore’s Pithampur. He planned to take advantage of the drug shortage and make money,” Guru Prasad Parashar, Additional Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch said.

A case has been registered against the accused under various sections, including fraud. The seized fake injections were to be sold for Rs 20 lakh in the black market.

Three arrested in Uttar Pradesh for black-marketing Remdesivir

The Uttar Pradesh police on Friday said that they had arrested three persons, including two medical representatives for allegedly black marketing Remdesivir injections. A total of 265 Remdesivir injections were recovered from their possession, a senior UP Police Special Task Force official said.

The official added that the injections were meant for black marketing. The three persons were arrested in a joint operation by the Kanpur Police and the STF after a tip-off regarding black marketing of Remdesivir injections.

The STF said that the Remdesivir injections were to be sold to someone at a premium price in Kidwai Nagar. The arrested persons were identified as medical representatives Prashant Shukla and Mohan Soni, residents of Naubasta, and Sachin Kumar of Haryana.

Mumbai doctor, 2 others arrested for selling remdesivir in black market

A Mumbai doctor and two others were arrested on Thursday on the charges of selling remdesivir injection, a key antiviral drug to fight COVID-19, in Mumbai’s fast-growing black market.

According to the police, the three people sought a very high price for remdesivir injection. The Malwani police had received a tip-off that a few individuals were hoarding the remdesivir injections from chemist shops and selling them at a markup price to people desperate for the antiviral drug.

The police sent a decoy customer to the men for buying the injection administered by hospitals to adults with severe complications. Two men, Siddharth Yadav (21) and Rizwan Mansuri (32), and a doctor, were arrested a little after 7.30 pm on Tuesday when they turned up at Mumbai’s Charkop Naka to deliver the injections.

Pune: 5 arrested and 4 vials recovered in connection with remdesivir black marketing

The Pune police arrested five men and recovered four vials of the Remdesivir injection used for Covid-19 treatment and currently in short supply. The four arrested men have been identified as Mohammad Mehboob Pathan (28), Imtiaz Yusuf Ajmeri (52), Parvez Mounoddin Shaikh (36), and Ashwini Vijay Solanki (41).

The police claimed the accused were trying to sell the vials on the black market. A raid was carried out by the officials of Unit 4 of the Pune Police Crime Branch on Wednesday which recovered the vials of remdesivir injections.

In one raid, the police caught four men and recovered two vials of the drug from near a petrol pump along the Ahmednagar road. In the other raid, two vials were recovered from one person in Wagholi.

Health minister calls for stringent action

Amid such incidents of profiteering from Remdesivir shortage, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday called for stringent action against those found indulging in black marketing and hoarding of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir. Talking about the shortage of the drug to ANI, the minister said, “Shortage of Remdesivir happened because its production was reduced as COVID19 cases were decreasing. Our drug controller and ministry held a meeting with stakeholders and asked manufacturers to strengthen the production. In case of any complaint of black marketing or hoardings of doses stringent action will be taken by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Stringent action should be taken against those who are exploiting people by inflating the price of Remdesivir.”

The union minister further emphasised that there are no shortage of vaccines and the Centre gives it to every state and added, “It is the job of states to provide the vaccine at the centre in a time-bound manner along with monitoring the drive and meticulous planning.”

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