Police arrest four for selling Remdesivir at higher price
The Pimpri-Chinchwad police arrested four persons including two siblings - one from Aundh-based private hospital and another from Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)-run Covid Care Centre (CCC) at Baner for the black marketing of Remdesivir injections which are used in the treatment of Covid-19, the police said on Saturday
The Pimpri-Chinchwad police arrested four persons including two siblings - one from Aundh-based private hospital and another from Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)-run Covid Care Centre (CCC) at Baner for the black marketing of Remdesivir injections which are used in the treatment of Covid-19, the police said on Saturday.
The accused, police said had been selling the drugs at higher rates to patients in need. While the market price of Remdesivir is ₹5,400. The accused were planning to sell the injections for ₹11,000.
This is the first case in Pune where police have acted against the black marketing of Remdesivir amid shortage of life saving injection in the city.
The suspects have been identified as Ajay Gurudev Morale (staff at Medipoint hospital, Aundh), Murlidhar Subhash Marutkar (working at Baner Covid Centre), Pratap Sunil Jadhavrao (resident of Talegaon dabhade) and Aditya Maidargi.
Police seized three injections, cash worth ₹10,400, one TVS bike and four mobile phones.
Kirshna Prakash, Pimpri-Chinchwad police commissioner said, “Police set a trap to bust the nexus of black marketing with decoy approached the accused called Aditya Maidargi and demanded two injections. Aditya asked customers to come to Katepuram chowk at Sangvi to collect the injection and asked for a rate of ₹11,000 per injection. When Aditya came to deliver the injection, police arrested him.”
According to Prakash, Aditya revealed the name of Prathap Jadhavrao. After that, police arrested Pratap Jadhavrao and seized one injection.
“Pratap told police that he purchased two injections from Medipoint hospital’s Ajay Morale. When police nabbed Morale, he admitted that he took three injections from Murlidhar Marutkar of Baner Covid-19 Centre,” he added.
One of the PMC officials said, “Marutkar is working at the Baner Covid Centre which has allotted a contract to a private firm to run the centre. We have given instruction to all Covid-19 centres and issued an alert.”
The accused have been charged under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the drugs (prices control) order 2013, the essential commodities Act, 1955 and the drugs and cosmetics Act 1940, illegal purchase of injection without doctor’s prescription and selling above the prices.
From the past one week, city is facing a shortage of Remdesivir injections with people rushing to distributors to purchase the drug. The shortage has also led to a panic situation in the city.
According to Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) officials, the demand has raised five times more as compared to normal.
On this background, the Pimpri-Chinchwad police have carried out an action and arrested four suspects.
On the tip off, PCMC police, social security department and FDA officials jointly carried out action at Aundh.
Dinesh Khivasara, assistant commissioner, FDA said, “It is not black marketing. People are selling stolen injections from hospitals at higher prices.”
Normalcy after April 20
He further said, “The district collector has issued an order to provide injection to hospitals directly and not to distributors. Shortage will continue until April 20. At present, we are trying to correct the supply and demand ratio. However, the demand is more as compared to the supply. Every doctor is prescribing it for patients who are with mild symptoms therefore the demand has been increased five times more in the city. The drug needs at least 15 days to manufacture.”
“There are five manufacturers in the country. One is in Maharashtra, they need raw material which comes from foreign countries, he added.
He said, “The MRP of injection is ₹5,400. We appeal to distributors to sell injection 10 per cent above the purchase rate. Retailers and distributors were selling it. However, due to manhandling of distributors and the shortage, most of them decide not to sell below MRP.”