Mumbai Police's crime branch on Friday arrested two people with 284 Remdesivir injections meant for black marketing. This comes at a time when coronavirus cases are surging in Maharashtra at an alarming rate and people are not getting the antiviral medication.
Remdesivir is a key medicine, used in the treatment of coronavirus, and with the spurt in COVID-19 cases in the state, its injections are in high demand. Taking advantage of the shortage, some people have been selling the medication at high prices in the black market.
Remdesivir injections are sold at a high price of over Rs 5,000-6,000 per injection in the black market.
The crime branch nabbed a person with 12 Remdesivir vials on Thursday. Following this, several late-night raids were carried out, during which the cops seized more than 272 Remdesivir injections from one GR Pharma shop.
After the raids, the crime branch confiscated 284 Remdesivir injections and arrested two people in connection with its black marketing.
On Thursday, the Maharashtra government capped the price of Remdesivir between Rs 1,100-1,400 per vial and warned against hoarding and black marketing.
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope also called for slashing the MRP of the key COVID-19 drug. He made it clear that the price of a Remdesivir injection should not cross Rs1,400.
Tope said that with a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, the state may need 1.5 lakh Remdesivir injections daily which would require ramping up of production.
He said the COVID-19 drug should be available at a rate anywhere between Rs 1,100 and Rs 1,400.
Tope also warned of a crackdown against stockists hoarding the medicine and asked doctors to be judicious in the use of the injection.
He said Remdesivir manufacturers should supply the stock directly to government hospitals.
Stocks sent to district collectors will be given to private hospitals as such a system will help stop black-marketing and hoarding, Tope said.
The state health minister also sought setting up of flying squads in every district to check malpractices in the sale of the injection.
He said at present 50,000 vials are being supplied and used on a daily basis in hospitals.
As of Thursday, Maharashtra registered 56,286 fresh coronavirus cases and 376 deaths, taking the state's total count to 3,229,547 and toll to 57,028. Active COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra have now touched 521,317.