After five foreign nationals were arrested and booked for illegal export of COVID-19 drugs, the Haryana Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has now seized 86 vials of Covifor (remdesivir) from a pharmacist. He runs Medigreen Pharmacy in Gurugram. Along with the state FDA officials, a team of police and CM flying squad carried out the investigation.
Commenting on development and action taken by the State FDA officials, Narendra Ahooja, State Drug Controller, Haryana, informed, “In continuation of our last investigation where the team found five foreign nationals involved in the illegal export of COVID-19 drugs and other medicines, yesterday our team nabbed a person named Pardeep, the proprietor of Medigreen Pharmacy, Jharsa, Gurugram. As per the initial investigation, Pradeep admitted and informed the team that he sold Covifor (remdesivir injection) to Mohmad from Iraq, without a bill for Rs 18000 each vial. He mentioned that he got each vial at the cost of Rs 15000.”
Reportedly, Pardeep had hidden 86 vials of Covifor in a room with a tube well in his field in his village, which is approximately 30 km away from Gurugram.
Commenting on the quality of the seized remdesivir vials, Ahooja said, “Such medicines need to be stored at a controlled temperature. As per the instruction from the DCGI, remdesivir injection 100mg/20ml needs to be refrigerated at a temperature of 2o Celsius to 8o Celsius until it is required for use. However, in the case of the seized 86 vials of remdesivir from the accused’s place, the team found that the supply chain instructions were not being followed. Hence, the quality of the drug is a big concern. Not only in this case but also in all such black marketed medicines related to COVID-19 treatment.”
He continued, “We have taken permission to conduct the inquiry up to the manufacturer’s level. Since it is for restricted emergency use and as per the instructions from the central drug monitoring authority as well as an order issued in the state by the Haryana FDA, the sale of such COVID-19 medicines, has to be by the company to the hospital through authorised company’s stockists. However, in this case, we found that the accused is not an authorised distributor of Covifor manufacturer i.e, Hetero Healthcare.”
He further informed that the State FDA will be carrying out drug quality analysis of those collected 86 vials and if the medicines pass the quality tests, then they will make an appeal to higher authorities to permit the use of these seized remdesivir injections for COVID-19 treatment of BPL patients.”
He said, “The market is witnessing a shortage of such medicines, and instead of it getting expired or lying in judicial custody for a period of time, it would be better if they get utilised, especially for them who cannot afford such high priced medicines. Therefore, we felt the need to make an appeal to make use of these seized remdesivir injections for poor BPL patients.”
Summing up, Ahooja said, “The team will continue to put efforts to bust such international rackets and illegal activities.”