A week after the Hyderabad police arrested 10 people, including a pharma company proprietor, for black marketing drugs related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, seven more people were arrested on Saturday for the illegal procurement and sale of the drugs at exorbitant prices. The arrested people include three staff nurses at a private hospital, a pharmacy staff, and a salesmen.
Police seized nine remdesivir (Covifor) injections from Hetero and one Cipremi injection from Cipla from their possession.
In the last week’s arrest, the people were found selling Remdesivir injections that cost Rs 5400 for Rs 30,000-40,000.
According to the police, the nexus of nurses, pharmacy staff, and salesmen in the present case leads to a particular private hospital in Langer House area of Hyderabad. A staffer at the hospital’s OP pharmacy, Abdul Aziz, hatched the plan as he saw a huge demand for the injections.
A staff nurse at the hospital, B Raju, agreed to supply the drug to him for Rs 19,000. Raju was being supplied the drug by a staff nurse, N Sunil, in another private hospital in LB Nagar for Rs 6,500, the police found. Similarly, another nurse in the same hospital, M Ravi, also promised Aziz to supply the drug for Rs 10,000. Following this, Aziz procured 11 Remdesivir injections and 1 Cipremi injection from Raju and Ravi, the police said.
Another accused Md Majid Ali procured one injection for Rs 20,000 from Aziz and informed his friend Md Afaq Ali about the same. Afaq Ali spoke to his friend Md Obaid, who works at a pharmacy in another private hospital, to sell the drug for Rs 28,000 per injection. At the time of arrest, Obaid was on the lookout for prospective customers for the drugs in order to earn some profit.
Based on a tip-off, officials of the Commissioner’s Task Force (west zone) nabbed the accused as they met each other and were discussing how to find customers, police added.
B Raju, N Sunil, and M Ravi, all staff nurses, were found to be selling the drugs illegally. Meanwhile, Md Obaid and Abdul Aziz were selling drugs from their medical stores at higher prices and without any medical prescription.
The accused people, along with seized material, were handed over to SHO, Asif Nagar Police Station for further action.
Police reiterated that the drug is meant for institutional or hospital sale only. They said that Remdesivir comes with a consent form that has to be filled and signed by the patient/attendants and the doctor concerned 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 consent form all the time especially, during the inspection by CDSCO/DCGI.