Three arrested for black marketing Remdesivir drug


Hyderabad: Three persons, including two employees of Hetero Healthcare, were arrested by the city police for black marketing generic versions of the Remdesivir drug (vials), which is currently in high demand to treat COVID-19 patients. The accused were selling each vial of the drug for as much as Rs 20,000 to those who are desperately looking to purchase it. Twelve Remdesivir 100 mg injections were recovered from their possession.

According to the deputy commissioner of police (north zone), the accused were identified as Shaik Saleem Jaffar, B. Venkatesh and Jonnala Sharan Sai. Of them, Saleem and Venkatesh are employed with Hetero Health , Kukatpally, as a area business manager and filed sales officer. The third accused and their accomplice, Sharan, is an employee of Alkem Pharmacy. All three of them were arrested near the Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, on Monday.

Sharan Sai, who is working as a medical representative in Alkem Pharmacy, came into contact with Saleem, who agreed to sell in black to the former at Rs 15,000 per vial. Sharan in turn essentially planned to sell the same for Rs 20,000 to needy customers, medical shops, to profit of the demand. For that purpose, Venkatesh illegally procured 12 Remdesivir vials from Hetero Healthcare and came near the Hyderabad Public school to deliver the drug to Saleem.

However, acting on a tip-off, officials of the commissioner’s task force intercepted them, and took all three men into custody. They recovered 12 Remdesivir vials from them, which are believed to have a market value of Rs 2,40,000. Hetero Healthcare limited is supplying and selling the Remdesivir vials which are being used as antiviral medicine for COVID-19 patients.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is a huge demand for the Remdesivir vials. The accused persons along with seized material were handed over the Begumpet police for further action.

On Monday, a large number of people also gathered outside the office of Hetero Healthcare’s office at Moosapet in hopes of buying the drug for their family members, who are suffering from COVID-19. However, give the shortage, many had to go back dejected. On Sunday, Telangana health minister Eatala Rajender said that the shortage of the Remdesivir drug that is touted to mitigate the replication of COVID-19 in the state, which is expected to end within a day