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Black marketing of COVID drugs: 8 arrested in Hyderabad

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Hyderabad police on Tuesday busted an inter-state gang with the arrest of eight people for blackmarketing medicines used for treatment of coronavirus.

The police also seized medicines worth Rs 35 lakhs and eight mobile phones.

The sleuths of Commissioner’s Task Force, South Zone team with the assistance of Chaderghat police apprehended eight accused who were blackmarketing generic versions of Remdesivir, Actemra and Fabiflu medicines which are being used for COVID-19 patients.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said the police seized 51 Remdesivir (100 mg) injections, nine Actemra (400 mg) injections and four Actemra (80 mg) injections.

One of the accused Gagan Khurana is a resident of Delhi while others are from Hyderabad. Almost all the accused are either medical distributors or running medical agencies.

The accused are K. Venkata Subramanyam, Santosh Kumar, Mohd. Shaker, K. Kishore, Rahul Agarwal, Gagan Khurana, Saif Ali Mohammed and Firdous Mohammed.

Police said as antiviral drugs Remdesivir, Actemra and FabiFlu are being used for treatment of COVID, their demand increased across the country within a short period. Remdesivir is being manufactured by Hetero Company unit located at Sangareddy. The accused formed a group and started black marketing of emergency drug for COVID-19 patients to earn easy money illegally.

The police investigations revealed that prime accused Venkata Subramanyam was allegedly purchasing the drugs from Hetero Company. The medicines were being sold by the accused for a profit ranging from Rs 3,500 to Rs 18,000. The medicine was being sold to customer for a price between Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 depending on the demand.

Accused Rahul Agarwal was procuring Actemra drug from Delhi through one Gagan Khurana and selling the same to the needy customers at higher price.

According to police while of Covifer (Remedesivir) had Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of Rs 5,400, the same was being sold for Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000.

While nine 400 mg injections of Actemra (Tocilizumab) carried MRP Rs 40,000, it was was sold for Rs 90,000 – 1,00,000. Four 80 mg injections of Actemra (Tocilizumab) were sold for Rs 25,000 against their MRP of Rs 8,000.

Similarly they were also selling FabiFlu tablets and COVID-19 rapid testing kits for higher prices.

Police also seized net cash of Rs 55,000 and eight mobile phones from the accused.

As per the procedure mentioned on the box of these drugs, they are meant for institutional/hospital sale only. Remdesivir drug comes with a consent form that has to be filled and signed by the patient/attendant and concerned doctor at the time of administration of drug. A copy of consent form has to be handed over to patient or attendants. It is the duty of the institution to ensure availability of consent form all the time especially during inspection by CDSCO/DCGI.

The police commissioner appealed to people not to get lured and cheated by brokers or fake agents. He said in case of any doubt, citizens can send information on WhatsApp at 9490616555 or contact local patrol car.

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