The Crime Branch of Mumbai Police on Friday recovered as many as 272 injections of Remdesivir from a shop in Mumbai's Andheri area, allegedly stocked up for sale in the black market, reported news agency ANI.
The police arrested two persons in this connection. The police crackdown has come in the backdrop of a severe shortage of the drug in the state.
On Thursday, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had slammed the state government for not curbing the black marketing of the drug.
"Remdesivir injections are being sold in the state through the black market. The government should get injections from the states where the situation is under control. It should also take strict action against all those who are involved in black marketing," Fadnavis had said.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government on Thursday decided to cap the price of Remdesivir between Rs 1,100 and Rs 1,400 per vial with Health Minister Rajesh Tope calling for slashing the MRP of the key COVID-19 drug.
He made it clear that the price of a Remdesivir injection should not cross Rs 1,400. Tope said with a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, the state may need 1.5 lakh Remdesivir injections daily which would require ramping up of production.
The MRP of the anti-viral drug, widely used in treatment of serious coronavirus patients, runs into a few thousands. Tope said the COVID-19 drug should be available at a rate anywhere between Rs 1,100 and Rs 1,400.
Besides, he warned of a crackdown against stockists hoarding the medicine and asked doctors to be judicious in use of the injection. He said Remdesivir manufacturers should supply the stock directly to government hospitals.
The stock sent to district collectors will be given to private hospitals as such a system will help to stop black- marketing and hoarding, Tope said. Tope sought setting up of flying squads in every district to check malpractices in sale of the injection.
He said at present 50,000 vials are being supplied and used on a daily basis in hospitals. With the active cases shooting beyond the 5-lakh mark in Maharashtra, the demand for the medicine authorised for emergency use to treat COVID-19 has gone up.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)