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2 held in Noida for black marketing life-saving drug

According to police, the accused, Anurag and Ankit, would coordinate with pharmacies to obtain the anti-fungal injections at low rates and sell them at a higher price in the NCR.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 24, 2021 2:29:59 am
The arrests come in the wake of the UP government declaring mucormycosis or black fungus a notified disease, with demand for anti-fungal medicines slowly rising.

Noida Police has arrested two persons in connection with black marketing of Amphotericin B, a drug used to treat black fungus.

According to police, the accused, Anurag and Ankit, would coordinate with pharmacies to obtain the anti-fungal injections at low rates and sell them at a higher price in the NCR.

The arrests come in the wake of the UP government declaring mucormycosis or black fungus a notified disease, with demand for anti-fungal medicines slowly rising. More than 15 patients in Gautam Budh Nagar district have been prescribed medicines for the infection. Over 40 patients are receiving treatment in Ghaziabad hospitals with symptoms similar to black fungus.

“We received information from locals that two persons had been selling medicines at nearly six times the original price. Since these medicines are crucial for treatment, families of patients end up paying more money. We traced a transaction and arrested Anurag, who works in a pharmacy. Along with the other accused, Anurag obtained and sold these injections. Further investigation is pending,” said an official from Sector 58 police station.

According to police, Anurag worked in a Noida-based pharmacy as a supervisor. The main accused was in touch with other medicine suppliers and had identified ways to obtain Amphotericin vials cheaper than the market rate, police said.

Once the medicine was obtained, accused Ankit would go around hospitals and meet families of patients to offer them the injection, police said. Due to fear of scarcity, families would end up paying an exorbitant amount of up to Rs 20,000 for one vial.

While police recovered two injections from the possession of the accused, they are investigating the total number of such injections sold.

An FIR has been filed for fraud and under relevant sections of the Epidemic Act.

Meanwhile, the Ghaziabad administration reviewed preparedness for black fungus in a meeting with hospital representatives. To prevent black marketing, officials have been asked to keep a separate record of how many medicines and injections have been procured and distributed for black fungus treatment.

As more information about the disease is gathered, doctors have been asked to prepare an official advisory on the same.

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