Odisha Police arrest drug company MD for selling fake, overpriced Covid medicine
A special task force of Odisha Police on Thursday arrested the managing director of a dubious drug distribution company that was planning to sell the popular Covid drug Favipiravir at almost 20 times its original price.
Police said they have arrested Siba Jena, managing director of Medilloyd Medicament, a Cuttack-based pharma distributor that got fake Favimax tablets (Favipiravir) from Noida-based Max Relief Health Care at ₹65 per strip of 10 tablets and had planned to sell them at ₹1290 per strip of 10 tablets. Early this month, Odisha Police had raided a medicine store in Cuttack and seized 170 boxes containing around 17,000 fake Favipiravir tablets. The medicine is prescribed for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. The STF team is grilling Jena at an undisclosed location.
On Wednesday, the STF had arrested Jena’s wife Subhalaxmi Jena, the director of Medilloyd Medicament, manager Priti Ranjan Parida and godown in-charge Satya Prakash Mohanty for selling the fake drug that was being manufactured in a non-existent plant in Solan area of Himachal Pradesh.
“Noida-based Max Relief Health Care is a dubious company that has been claiming to manufacture the drug in Solan, Himachal Pradesh. Mumbai Police have already arrested the owner of the firm Sudeep Mukherjee and another person working in a pharmacy lab earlier this month. In Odisha, Medilloyd Medicament was the main distributor of the fake drugs,” said YK Jethwa, additional DG CID.
A case under sections 275/276/420/467/468/471/120 B of IPC with Section 27C of Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940 has been registered against the Odisha company officials. The STF has also frozen more than ₹50 lakh in the bank accounts of the accused persons and the above company.
Multiple teams were formed to investigate, including to conduct raids, study the documents, linkages/networking in other states, modus operandi. Currently, three teams are probing the issue in Odisha, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
STF officials said samples from the seized stock have been sent to Central Drug Research Laboratory in Kolkata for testing and the reports are yet to come.