Crackdown on drug hoarding: 136 kilos of meds seized after raids in 2,517 shops and units

Published on May 27, 2021 11:48 PM IST

The Delhi government has intensified its crackdown against the hoarding and black-marketing of life-saving drugs and the special task force (STF) in every district, formed for the purpose, have so far conducted searches in at least 2,517 shops and manufacturing units across the city, senior revenue officials said on Thursday

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By, New Delhi

The Delhi government has intensified its crackdown against the hoarding and black-marketing of life-saving drugs and the special task force (STF) in every district, formed for the purpose, have so far conducted searches in at least 2,517 shops and manufacturing units across the city, senior revenue officials said on Thursday.

The move comes at a time when cases of secondary mucormycosis or black fungus are on the rise among Covid-19 recovered patients, which doctors are attributing to the compromised immunity of these persons, most probably as a result of the indiscriminate use of steroids to treat Covid-19, besides underlying conditions such as diabetes.

“Acute shortage of medicines to treat black fungus patients is a bigger problem than the increase in the number of cases of this fungal infection. Amphotericin-B is in short supply across the country and each state is getting only a limited number of vials, depending on the caseload of that state or Union Territory. In such a scenario, ensuring that there is no black-marketing or hoarding of such life-saving drugs is of prime importance,” said a member of the STF in Central district, asking not to be named.

These STFs, one in each of the 11 districts of Delhi, have officials from the district administration, Delhi Police and the city’s drug control office.

Data showed that till May 24, STFs conducted searches in 2,512 shops and five manufacturing units. A total of 25 cases of hoarding and black-marketing of life-saving drugs have been reported so far and 136 kilograms of medicines seized.

A total of 67 oxygen cylinders have also been seized in the past few days -- there were eight separate cases of hoarding and black-marketing of oxygen cylinders. A total of 16 FIRs (first information reports) have been lodged so far and 31 persons arrested, the government data further showed.

On May 25 alone, the government’s drugs control department suspended the licences of 25 drugstores and initiated action against 12 others for selling medicines used in the treatment of Covid-19 without prescription. Department officials said they sent decoy customers to various stores across the city to purchase ivermectin (to treat parasite infestation), antibiotics such as azithromycin, and steroids to check if these medicines were being sold without a doctor’s prescription. The licences of 25 drugstores were suspended after they sold ivermectin and antibiotics to the decoy customers without prescription on May 14 and 15.

Show-cause notices have been sent to 12 other drugstores which were found selling steroids such as dexamethasone and budesonide without prescription on May 17 and 21. Their licences are also likely to be suspended.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sweta Goswami writes on urban development, transport, energy and social welfare in Delhi. She prefers to be called a storyteller and has given voice to several human interest stories. She is currently cutting her teeth on multimedia storytelling.

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