Pune: Five held for trying to sell remdesivir at 9 to 16 times its price

THE crackdown by Pune City Police against the black-marketing of remdesivir injections continued on Thursday as they arrested five more persons who were trying to sell vials of the injection at nine to 16 times its maximum retail price.

The Crime Branch had earlier arrested two persons in two separate actions and seized three vials from them. The total number of arrests in the four remdesivir black-marketing cases is now seven and a total of seven vials have been seized from the suspects till now. These actions have been taken in coordination with drug inspectors from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

Pune Police have formed as many as 10 teams to put a check on black-marketing and illegal sale of the medicine, which is in high demand due to a sharp spike in Covid cases across Maharashtra.

In the first of the two actions on Thursday, police received a tip-off that a man was trying to sell a remdesivir vial at Rs 10,000 as against the price range of Rs 1,100 to 1,400, at which the government has capped its price. In a joint operation of police and the FDA, a decoy customer was sent to Wagholi area and a suspect, identified as Rohidas Gore, was detained. Two vials of the injectable medicine were recovered from him. Gore was later placed under arrest.

In the second action, police received a tip-off that some people were selling remdesivir at Rs 18,000 in Nagar Road area. The police laid a trap and sent a decoy customer, leading to the arrest of four persons identified as Mohammed Pathan, Imtiyaz Ajmeri, Ashwin Solanki and Parvez Shaikh. Police also recovered two vials from them. Both the actions on Thursday were conducted by a team from Unit 4 of Pune City Police’s Crime Branch.

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Earlier, police had arrested a medical assistant working at a hospital who was selling vials of the medicine at around five times the maximum retail price. Prior to that, police had nabbed a staffer of a hospital located in Katraj and had booked a nurse who was alleged to have given the remdesivir vials to him.

Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, “We will continue to be vigilant about the black-marketing of remdesivir. We urge people to report to us if they come to know of such cases.”

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