Pharma firm MD, 7 others held in COVID-19 drug racket in Hyderabad

The gang used a chain of middlemen to supply drugs to patients

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Police
Picture: Pixabay

HYDERABAD: An eight-member gang led by the MD of a pharma company in Hyderabad, that was diverting anti-viral drugs used for treating Covid -19 through the black market, was nabbed by the Task Force on Tuesday. The gang used a chain of middlemen to supply drugs to patients. K Venkata Subramanyam alias Phani, the MD of Sri Medicure Products (OPC) Private Limited, revealed that he procured drugs like Remdesivir and FabiFlu from the Hetero Pharma unit in Sangareddy district.

Another drug, Tocilizumab, was procured through Gagan Khurana (21), a Delhi- based supplier. The gang used WhatsApp as a platform for its one-month-old business. It accepted cash as well as payment through UPI platforms. Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said Rs  35 lakh worth of drugs had been seized from their possession.

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Police said Phani sold the drug first to Santosh Kumar. Afterwards, it changed many hands till it reached the client. Each person made a margin of around Rs  4,000. Inquiries revealed that Remdesivir is available at Rs  5,400 per unit, but the gang members sold it for around Rs  40,000 and Tocilizumab which costs Rs  40,000 per unit, was being sold for more than Rs  1 lakh.

This drug is used to treat Covid-19 patients who are in the ventilator stage. Police found that several patients who purchased this drug from the gang, have since recovered. Gagan Khurana, who supplied Tocilizumab to Phani, flew to the city to deliver the medicines when he was nabbed. Police are also investigating if the gang supplied drugs in neighbouring states as well.

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