Hyderabad: The sleuths of the commissioner's task force, west zone, arrested a man on 20 April for illegally selling COVID-19 antiviral drug Covifor (Remdesivir) at higher prices. The police seized six Remdesivir injections from Shaik Mazhar.
The 33-year-old Mazhar runs a pharmacy store (Global Pharmacy) in Yousufguda, Hyderabad. He noticed that due to the pandemic the demand for Remdesivir had surged. He started illegally procuring the drugs and selling them at high prices to needy customers. He was selling Remdesivir injections to customers without any medical prescription or bills.
The actual cost of the Remdesivir injection is Rs. 5,400, however, due to COVID-19 there is a shortage and people are running from pillar to post to find the drug. Mazhar took advantage of the situation and was selling the injections for Rs. 35,000.
The West zone task force arrested Mazhar on Tuesday when he was trying to sell Remdesivir injections to needy customers near Olive Hospital in Langer House, Hyderabad. The accused along with the seized material was handed over to SHO, Langer House police station, for further action.
Remdesivir is meant for institutional/hospital sale only. It comes with a consent form that has to be filled and signed by the patient/attendants and concerned doctor at the time of administration of the drug. A copy of the consent form has to be handed over to the patient or attendants. It is the duty of the institution to ensure the availability of the consent form all the time especially during an inspection by CDSCO/DCGI.
The shortage of Remdesivir in Telangana has led to a booming black market for the drug. Despite the health ministry and government agencies stating that it is not the only drug to treat COIVD-19, private hospitals are forcing people to buy the drug. It was also found that expecting a rise in cases, private hospitals have already hoarded these drugs in large quantities and are selling them to patients for huge sums.