New Delhi: There have been many shortcomings on behalf of the state administrations towards the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Factors such as delay in the turnout time of the tests conducted, unavailability of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, and life-saving drugs are making COVID-19 patients desperate to resort to procuring the drugs from the black market, thereby spending a hefty sum of money. Read more
In recent days, the demand for both Remdesivir and tocilizumab has shot up. Patients agitated by the inefficient system for handling the COVID-19 situation have made desperate requests to have access to the drugs in the black market. To give you an idea about the high prices charged, three agents contacted by the BBC in Delhi agreed to supply each 100mg vial of Remdesivir for 24,000 rupees which is five times the official price. While the effectiveness of both drugs is still debated worldwide, India has given permission for its use in emergency situations.
Recently, the Uttar Police Special Taskforce and the local police in a joint operation busted a gang that was involved in the black market sale of the Remdesivir COVIFOR anti-viral vaccine. The Special Task Force and the local police arrested three people in connection to this case. Read more
The Special Task Force and the local police acted on the lead provided by the Lucknow-based Military Intelligence (MI) unit who suspected the movement of the black marketeers. The suspects were caught by the police red-handed in the Kidwai Nagar area of the city. The men arrested have been identified as Sachin Kumar, Mohan Soni, and Prashant Shukla, who are being further interrogated by the police to uncover further links. Read more
A total of 265 vials have been recovered from the culprits who were selling the drug for Rs 4,000, thus earning more than a whooping sum of ten lakh rupees.
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan took to Twitter and said, "Companies manufacturing COVID19 drug Remdesivir have been asked to ramp up production. I assure you that strict action will be taken against those who are involved in black marketing of the drug and other malpractices."