3 held for hoarding remdesivir
Bengaluru Bengaluru police on Sunday arrested at least three persons for allegedly hoarding and black marketing Remdesivir, a drug commonly used to treat Covid-19 infected persons in hospitals.
“The CCB (central crime branch) conducted a drive across Bengaluru and arrested the three accused who were having illegal stock of the injection and were selling them at ₹10,500 each, which is much higher than the MRP,” Sandeep Patil, joint commissioner of police (crime), said in a statement.
A total of 11 vials of injections were seized during the raid.
According to medical practitioners, the anti-viral injection that costs between ₹1,000 and ₹5,500, depending on the brand, is sold for ₹30,000 to ₹40,000 in the black market, Hindustan Times had earlier reported.
Rajesh and Shakeeb, who run Gurushree medicals, a small medical store around Suddaguntepalya, were held in one such raid and Sohail was arrested from near Madiwala police station limits, police said.
A probe is underway to find out the source of procurement.
The arrests come at a time when hospitals in the city are already facing shortage of the drug.
On Saturday, one person who did not wish to be named said he struggled to find the medicine for his infected mother in Banashankari locality of Bengaluru. “Even doctors are selling Remdesivir at exorbitant prices,” he claimed.
The person added there was little response on the government-provided helpline number to procure Remdesivir.
Representatives of one government and one private hospital told Hindustan Times that the drug was only being administered to in-patients and no other requests were being entertained keeping in mind its low availability.
The Karnataka health department, however, said there was enough availability of the drug in Bengaluru and that hospitals are required to raise the request with an officer, specifically assigned for this purpose, to obtain the same. On Friday, the Karnataka government said it had placed orders for 70,000 doses of Remdesivir.
“There is no shortage of the drug. However, the hospital has to raise the request for its supply with the concerned officer named for the purpose,” an official in the state health department said, requesting not to be named.
Since the beginning of March, the city has witnessed a massive surge in Covid-19 cases, with more persons requiring hospitalization and critical life-saving drugs like Remdesivir.