MYSURU: Mysuru police on Monday busted a fake Remdesivir racket, arresting a staff nurse who used to source empty vials of the drug, fill them with cheap antibiotics or saline solution and resell them to needy patients.
The accused has been identified as Girish, a staff nurse at a private hospital in the city, who had allegedly sold over 800-900 fake Remdesivir vials to the needy with the help of two medical representatives.
With the current spike in COVID-19 cases across the country, there has been a higher demand for Remdesivir -- an experimental investigational drug granted emergency authorization to use on critical ill COVID-19 patients. Taking advantage of the situation, Girish came up with this plan and through the help of his contacts, he sourced empty vials of used Remdesivir injections which come in powder and liquid format.
“He used to refill the empty vials with saline solution or Ceftriaxone, an antibiotic drug, repackage them and sell them as original with the help of two medical representatives,” said Dr Chandragupta, Mysuru city police commissioner.
The city police who set up a special team comprising CCB officials and staff to keep tabs on hoarding of Remdesivir and monitor if there were any cases of selling it on the black market for exorbitant prices was on a hunt to arrest the culprits. During the operation, officials under the guidance of DCPs Dr Prakash Gowda, Geetha Prasanna, CCB ACP CK Aswathnarayan conducted a raid at Girish’s house in Nazarbad only to find that the accused was not hoarding the drug but was engaged in producing fake Remdesivir vials.
“The accused took the help of Shivappa, a securityman at a private hospital, and Mangala, a housekeeping staffer at a private COVID care centre, who supplied empty vials which he refilled, repackaged and sold as original with the help of two medical representatives Prashanth and Manjunath. We have continued our investigation and are gathering more details on who bought them. We are informed that over 800 to 900 fake Remdesivir vials were sold till now,” said an official from the investigating team.
Police seized Rs 2.82 lakh, over 41 fake Remdesivir injections of 100mg vials having stickers of various companies, over 99 bottles of Ceftriazone IP injection which was used to refill the empty bottles, two empty syringes of 20ml each, rubber and plastic caps used to repack the vials and two bottles of sodium chloride injection and saline solutions.
An FIR has been registered against Girish under IPC sections of 276, 420, 34 and under column 27 of the Drug and Cosmetics Act 1940 at Nazarbad police station.