Mumbai

Five held for black marketing of remdesivir and tocilizumab

The Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Thane Crime Branch has arrested five people, including two medical representatives, for the alleged black marketing of remdesivir and tocilizumab injections, which are used in the treatment of COVID-19 and cancer respectively, the police said on Wednesday.

The police said a decoy approached the accused and placed an order for nine injections. While Remdesivir was being sold at a rate six times higher, Tocilizumab was being sold at double the rate. Remdesivir injections were fixed at ₹25,000 per vial, while Cipla Ltd has priced Cipremi (the generic version of remdesivir) at ₹4,000 per 100 mg. The accused also charged ₹80,000 for one vial of Actemra (tocilizumab injection), while its MRP is ₹40,600.

A team of AEC and Food and Drug Administration officials learnt that the accused would arrive at Teen petrol pump at Naupada in Thane at 9 p.m. on Tuesday with three injections: two of remdesivir and one of tocilizumab. The team then laid a trap and nabbed three of the accused. “During interrogation, the trio revealed the names of two of their accomplices. They were nabbed from Navi Mumbai on Wednesday,” Pravin Pawar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime), Thane, said.

The accused have been identified as Arun Ramji Singh (35) from Ghatkopar, Sudhakar Shobhit Giri (37) from Khar, Ravindra Mohan Shinde (35) from Koparkhairane, Wasim Ahmed Abdul Ahmed Shaikh (32) from Kamothe, and Amitabh Nirmal Das (39) from Kamothe.

“One person from Pharma Care in Wadala, who is a distributor of Cipla, is wanted in the case,” said Rajkumar Kothmire, senior police inspector, AEC. Mr. Kothmire said Mr. Giri and Mr. Singh were medical representatives and finalised rates for the injections with customers. The duo then handed over the injections to Mr. Das, who owned an Ola cab. Mr. Shinde would drive the car and deliver the injections to the customers, Mr. Kothmire said.

The accused have been charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013, the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2020 7:18:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/five-held-for-black-marketing-of-remdesivir-and-tocilizumab/article32166960.ece

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