Mumbai: The ongoing controversy over the stockpiling of Remdesivir amid rising demand on Tuesday took a new turn when the NCP Minister Nawab Malik alleged that former BJP MLA from north Maharashtra Shirish Chaudhari illegally distributed to people Remdesivir vials which had not been exported due to a ban on it. However, the BJP dismissed the allegation is baseless.
Malik reminded that the Centre has banned the export of Remdesivir and one of its manufacturers is Bruck Pharma. “How could BJP leader Shirish Chaudhari store around 20,000 vials of the exportable Remdesivir stock of Bruck Pharma and distribute them to people? They don't have a licence to do so,” he said.
Malik said Chaudhari had allegedly distributed and sold the Remdesivir stock in black markets in Nandurbar, Dhule and Jalgaon districts. To substantiate his charges, Malik presented some photos and video. “Some videos have surfaced in which Chaudhari is allegedly seen distributing Remdesivir vials in Nandurbar from his Hira Executive Hotel. We believe Chaudhari sold around 20,000 vials, which were produced by Bruck Pharma, in the black market on April 8 and 12,” Malik alleged.
He said NCP legislator from Amalner in Jalgaon district Anil Patil had complained against Chaudhari (who contested the 2019 Assembly poll against Patil) in a letter to the party. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner in a letter has asked Nandurbar collector to conduct a probe into Chaudhari's alleged connection with the distribution of Remdesivir vials without a proper licence, Malik said.
“What licence was obtained by Chaudhari from Maharashtra or the Union Territory of Daman?” he asked.
Malik claimed that Chaudhari along with Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council Pravin Darekar had met FDA Minister Rajendra Shingane to seek permission for the Bruck Pharma to sell its Remdesivir stock in Maharashtra.
However, Darekar termed Malik's allegations as 'baseless' and said FDA minister Shingane has admitted that the Bruck Pharma's Remdesivir vials were to be sold in Maharashtra only. The BJP leader also said he has demanded details of the hoarding of Remdesivir stock, as alleged by Malik. Meanwhile, state Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant demanded action against Bruck Pharma and former BJP MLA Shirish Chaudhary. ‘’When there was a ban in Maharashtra how Remdesivir could be sold to private persons. Bruck Pharma said it cannot give Remdesivir to state government as the Daman administration has not given permission. There was collusion between Bruck Pharma and BJP which is dangerous,’’ he alleged.