Mumbai: Pharmacist, aide arrested for selling COVID drug Remdesivir for four times its price; hints at bigger nexus
The deal was closed for Rs 20000 per vial, stating that the drug was being sold in the black market from a medical store of a reputed hospital in the Western suburbs of Mumbai for ₹21,000 each.
Mumbai: With the increasing demand for the anti-viral drug remdesivir, which is being used to treat COVID-19 patients; cases related to the illegal sale of the drug has seen an imprudent rise with yet another pharmacist and his aide being arrested for allegedly selling the drug at almost four times its market price for Rs 20,000 per vial.
Pertinent to this black marketing, now a reputed hospital in Mumbai is also under the scanner. The people who have been arrested are identified as Sonu Darshi (25) and his accomplice Rodriques Raul (31).
The duo was caught hold of after a social worker from Thane, Dr Binu Verghese, tipped off the police about the sale of remdesivir for around Rs 20,000 for one vial while the retail price is Rs 5,400.
Accordingly, a trap was laid and Verghese was sent as a dummy customer.
Firstly, the accused offered that drug at Rs 30000. However, after negotiating, the deal was closed for Rs 20000 per vial, stating that the drug was being sold in the black market from a medical store of a reputed hospital in the Western suburbs of Mumbai for ₹21,000 each. They were caught red-handed in the act by Mumbai Police.
The accused have been booked under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code and the Essential Commodities Act and Drugs and Cosmetic Act.
Cops are now probing a possible broader nexus that may be black-marketing the coveted coronavirus treatment drug.
"We are investigating if more people were involved in this illegal sale. These accused were selling the drug costing Rs 5,400 at a rate of Rs 20,000- 25,000", Senior Inspector Sandip Kadam as quoted by Business Today.
Commenting on the black marketing of the drug in high demand, Anil Deshmukh, State Home Minister Told Mumbai Mirror, "State government is in the process of acquiring Remdesivir and Tocilizumab on a big scale. It will be available whenever required. Police will take strict against those involved in black marketing of these drugs."