Maharashtra: Five booked for black marketing Black Fungus, Covid-19 drugs

The accused were selling Amphotericin B for Rs 21,000 against the original price of Rs 7,814 a vial, and Bevacizumab for Rs 65,000 against its actual price of Rs 54,000 per vial.

Maharashtra: Five booked for black marketing Black Fungus, Covid-19 drugs
A doctor checks a patient for black fungus. (Photo Credit: PTI)

Pune: Five people, including a medical shop owner and a nurse, were arrested for allegedly black-marketing a key drug used in the treatment of mucormycosis or ‘black fungus’ in the Pimpri Chinchwad area in the Pune district of Maharashtra, according to the police statement on Wednesday. The arrests have been made under various sections of the IndiaPenal Code, the Drugs Prices Control Order and the Essential Commodities Act.

The accused were selling a vial of Amphotericin B injection, used in the treatment of mucormycosis, for Rs 21,000 against the original price of Rs 7,814 a vial, and Bevacizumab injection, used in the treatment of COVID-19, for Rs 65,000 against its actual price of 54,000 a vial.

“We received information that some people were involved in black-marketing of the mucormycosis drug and were selling them at a higher price. Accordingly, one of the accused was contacted with the help of a decoy customer,” said a police officer from Pimpri Chinchwad.

One of the accused offered to sell a vial of Amphotericin B at Rs 21,000, following which he was detained.” During his interrogation, he spilled the names of others including a medical shop owner and a nurse,” the officer said.

‘Black Fungus’ update

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan stated that 28,252 Mucormycosis or black fungus infections have been reported from 28 states and UTs, with a majority of them having been reported in Maharashtra and Gujarat after chairing the 28th meeting of the High-level Group of Ministers on coronavirus via video conferencing on Monday.

Out of 28,252 infections,  86% of infections have a history of Covid-19 and 62.3% a history of diabetes.

Maharashtra reported the maximum number of mucormycosis cases (6,339) followed by Gujarat (5,486). Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, presented a brief snapshot of India’s vaccination status, preparedness for pediatric Covid-19 care, and the way forward to prevent the third wave of the infection, at today‘s conference.

He also informed that the country took 141 days to reach the 23 crore mark in terms of cumulative doses administered, which remains the second-highest in the world after the US, which did the same in 134 days.

“India is also one of the world’s fastest countries in terms of the number of doses administered so far. Out of 88.7 crore people who have been administered at least one dose globally, India accounts for 17.9 crore, which is 20.2% of the global coverage,” Dr Paul maintained.

(with inputs from agencies)

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