Fungus drug: Cops swoop down on black marketers

As per the procedure, the patient, who is suffering from black fungus infection, has to place a request with government seeking medicines

HYDERABAD: Special Operations Team (SOT) of the Rachakonda police cracked around eight cases of illegally selling amphotericin B injection vials and around 50 cases of remdesivir.

Although medicines for black fungus are supplied by the government, some
unscrupulous elements are getting hands on it and selling them for
exorbitant prices. The Rachakonda police launched an investigation into the
scam and the alleged nexus between hospital authorities and black marketers.

As per the procedure, the patient, who is suffering from black fungus
infection, has to place a request with the government seeking medicines. The
request, after examination of a team of doctors in a private hospital, is
forwarded to the medical department along with identity proofs.

Then the department gives approval and issues medicines to the patient.
During the delivery of medicine to patients, or by placing fake requests,
fraudsters are managing to divert the medicines and sell them at high prices
in black market.

In some cases, SOT police has arrested doctors, nurses and some medical

The SOT Bhongir, along with the LB Nagar police, apprehended a junior doctor
and a staff nurse who came to sell amphotericin B Liposome injections. In
another case, the SOT Malkajgiri arrested two persons including an advocate
in connection with the black marketing of amphotericin B.

On Monday, the SOT LB Nagar busted another illegal sale of amphotericin B
Liposome and arrested two brothers who were involved in the scam.

"It is impossible to pull off the scam without the help of medical staff.
Medical representatives after colluding with black marketers are taking
advantage of the pandemic and encashing by selling the injection used in the
treatment of black fungus at exorbitant prices. We are investigating the
nexus between the medical representatives and black-marketers," said a
Rachakonda police official.

Amphotericin B Liposome injection is being used to treat black fungal
infections. The antiviral drug is currently in high demand which leads to
shortage of the drug.

The drug normally does not cost more than Rs 7,858, depending on the
manufacturer. However, black marketers are selling the injections for
Rs 50,000- Rs 70,000.

Speaking to this newspaper, Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh M. Bhagwat said, "The patients who are suffering from black fungus have to undergo treatment in government hospitals like the ENT and Gandhi Hospital rather than going to private hospitals."

Bhagwat added that there were many cases of fraudsters duping patients under
the guise of providing medicines. "Every day, a patient suffering from black
fungus requires six injections and black marketers are selling each
injection at prices ranging from Rs 40,000-Rs 70,000," said Bhagwat.

He urged the public to reach out to the police immediately if they were
duped by fraudsters through Rachakonda police WhatsApp number 9490617111 or through official social media handles.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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