Mumbai: The Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) has made a massive crackdown on 115 offenders for black marketing of key Covid-19 drugs like amphoterecin B and remdesivir injections in parts of Surat and Vadodara. It detected 35 such cases of black marketing of remdesivir and amphoterecin B in which hospital staff and medical representatives were involved.
According to Gujarat FDCA Commissioner Dr HG Koshia, “All the 115 offenders have been booked under relevant sections of drugs act, Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) Disaster Management Act (DMA) and Essential Commodities Act (ECA).”
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has directed all state and Union territory drugs controllers to provide daily update on enforcement activities to stop hoarding, black marketing and overcharging of Covid-19 drugs like remdesivir, tocilizumab, favipiravir and oxygen cylinder.
DCGI has directed to collect the daily information on enforcement activities to prevent black marketing and overpricing with respect to remdesivir, tocilizumab, favipiravir and oxygen cylinder in a letter to all state and UT drugs controllers recently requested to send the above information as per format on daily basis (by 5 pm) on email—firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
DCGI has also directed all zonal, sub zonal offices of CDSCO to coordinate with state and UT drugs control authorities in the matter.
The demand for drugs like tocilizumab, favipiravir, antiviral medication remdesivir and oxygen cylinder has also increased with the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases in the country. This, in turn, has led to a shortage of these drugs as well as oxygen cylinders and led to black marketing and overcharging.
A state-wide racket involving sale of a compound of glucose and salt filled into a glass vial-labelled with a reputed pharma company was also busted in Ahmedabad recently.
The offenders are facing penal actions under Section 308 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for attempt to commit culpable homicide. There is also a provision of two years of imprisonment for violation of DMA which is enforced in the state in the ongoing pandemic.
The Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch conducted raids at places in Morbi, Surat and Ahmedabad and seized 3,371 vials of the injection valuing Rs. 1.61 crore at the market rate of approximately Rs. 4,500 each, and Rs. 90.27 lakh in cash, which the accused had allegedly earned by selling the fake injections.
According to police officials, the accused allegedly sourced the empty vials from Mumbai, pasted the fake brand labels on the vials before filling them with 33 gms of glucose-salt compound at a factory in Vapi. The police has also sealed the factory, where the packaging of the vials was taking place in Surat district.
The packaged injection vials used to be then sent to parts of Gujarat for sale. Patients were charged between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 5,000 and even more and sold through select network.
The Ahmedabad Crime Branch has so far booked 8 persons in this connection of which seven have been arrested, a government statement said. Cases of black-marketing and illegal hoarding have also been reported from different places of Gujarat.