In a span of two days, Hyderabad police have arrested seven people for selling Remdesivir in the black market. Two of those arrested include employees of Hetero Health care, all seven persons were booked on charges of illegal procurement and black marketing of Remdesivir, an emergency drug used for treating critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Three persons, Shaik Saleem Jaffar, B Venkatesh and Jonnala Sharan Sai were arrested by the North Zone police on Monday for attempting to sell each vial of Remdesivir for Rs 20,000. Saleem is the area business manager for Kukatpally and Venkatesh a field sales officer with Hetero Healthcare. Sharan works as a medical representative with Alkem Pharmacy. The Hyderabad based Hetero Healthcare produces Remdesivir under the brandname Covifor.
Police say Saleem had agreed to sell the drug to Sharan for Rs 15,000 per vial and Shran planned to in turn sell the vials for Rs 20,000 per vial. Venkatesh procured 12 vials of the drug from Hetero Healthcare and was making a delivery to Saleem and Sharan near the Hyderabad Public School when they were arrested. The recovered 12 doses of the drug cost Rs 2,40,000 in the black market.
In another instance, Shaik Mazhar, (33) a pharmacy owner was caught by the Hyderabad task Force on Tuesday for attempting to sell six vials of Remdesivir. The man was booked based on a tip-off about attempting to sell the vials for Rs 35,000 each. Shaik was arrested and handed over to the Langar House police station, said police press releases.
Another pharmacy owner, Mohammad Abdul Hafeez (52), his employees Shaik Jilani (27) and Mohammad Bin Saleem (51) were caught by the Central Task Force and four vials were recovered from them. The three men were intending to sell the drugs for Rs 23,000 per vial and were handed over to the Habeebnagar police station.
A shortage of the drug in Telangana had forced many of those in need to approach touts to procure the drug. On Monday, hundreds of people had gathered at a retail outlet of Hetero Drugs to procure the life-saving drug at a retail price. The Drug Control Administration informed the media on Tuesday that the shortage of the drug will be resolved within 2 weeks.