Maharashtra: Black marketing of Remdesivir reported, crime branch seizes 272 injections from Andheri shop

Remdesivir injections being black marketed in Maharashtra, images via Mumbai Mirror, Twitter

Amid the resurgence of coronavirus in the state of Maharashtra, Mumbai Police Crime Branch has recovered 272 Remdesivir injections from a shop in the Andheri area in Mumbai. Remdesivir is an important and effective drug used for the treatment of the pathogen in hospitalized adults and children.

The police informed that the vials of the drug had been stocked in the shop for the purpose of black marketing. The Mumbai Police Crime Branch has arrested two people in connection to the case. The shop is named GR Pharma and is located in the Jogeshwari area, as per a Mumbai Mirror report.

Similarly, in a separate incident, a 22-year-old youth was nabbed with a dozen 12 vials of Remdesivir from Andheri (East) on Thursday evening. The accused, Sarfaraz Hussain, was caught by the Crime Branch with the injections.

According to the official, the Crime Branch acted on a tip-off. They laid a trap after getting the information that a youth named Sarfaraz Hussain was trying to sell the anti-viral drug in the black market.

During a search operation, the Crime Branch found at least 12 vials of Remdesivir in his possession. The official said that investigation into the case is on and they are yet to ascertain whom he was going to deliver the now seized injections.

Remdesivir, a key drug proving beneficial for treating coronavirus

Remdesivir is an antiviral medication that targets a range of viruses. It has been proved beneficial for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The full approval for the emergency use of the drug was preceded by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuing a EUA (emergency use authorization) on May 1, 2020.

Following the approval, Remdesivir became the first drug to receive emergency use authorization to treat severe COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) in hospitalized adults and children.

Remdesivir works by interrupting the production of the virus. Coronaviruses have genomes made up of ribonucleic acid (RNA). Remdesivir interferes with one of the key enzymes the virus needs to replicate RNA. This prevents the virus from multiplying.

Maharashtra govt caps the price of Remdesivir injections, warns against black marketing

With Maharashtra continuing to record the highest number of cases in the country, there has been a sudden surge in demand for this injection in the state. Owing to this, illegal trading or black marketing of Remdesivir injections has also seen a sharp rise in the state of Maharashtra.

On Thursday, the Maharashtra government had capped the price of Remdesivir injections between Rs 1,100 and Rs 1,400 per vial and warned against its hoarding and black marketing.

The Remdesivir injection was first launched in Indian last year by Cipla and Hetero, with a price tag on each injection at Rs 4000 to Rs 5000. The treatment cost for 5 injection was around 25000. Later Zydus Cadilla launched Remdesivir under the brand name Remdac, with a price tag of Rs 2800.

Recently on March 24, Zydus had slashed the price of Remdac to just Rs 899. Zydus had license to produce Remdesivir from US drug maker Gilead. With the latest price cut, the treatment of 5 injections is to cost around Rs 4500. It is given to hospitalised patients.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra reported 59,907 new COVID-19 cases in highest ever single-day spike yesterday, taking the overall caseload to 31,73,261. The state also reported the highest single-day death count due to coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic with 322 fatalities on Thursday. The total death count in the state has reached 56,652. The state’s recovery rate stands at 82.36 per cent at present.

OpIndia Staff: Staff reporter at OpIndia