TIRUVANNAMALAI: With the arrest of a multipurpose health worker in connection with the life-saving Remdesivir drug racket, more skeletons are expected to tumble out of the closet in the Govt Tiruvannamalai Medical College Hospital (GTMCH).
Acting on a tip-off, cops attached to Civil Supplies-CID (CS-CID) secured 26-year-old Vignesh, a multipurpose health worker employed on a contract basis, from GTMCH on Thursday.
According to police, their interrogations revealed that he had stolen the drug from the covid wards to hand over his contacts, who, in turn, are alleged to have passed it on to a doctor based at Tambaram in Chennai. The doctor and a few others too were held by the police. Chennai city police are investigating the matter.
A medical officer with the casualty unit of the hospital had allegedly helped Vignesh sneak out the drug from GTMCH. He was also secured by the police for interrogations.
Informed sources said that a well-oiled network of staff at the GTMCH had been part of the racket to smuggle out Remdesivir. They had cleverly worked in the hospital to steal the drug.
As per the practice, Remdesivir vials are received from the pharmacy, after the concerned doctors of the covid ward provide the intent for the drug, and are taken to the wards where it will be kept safely in storerooms before being used.
The records will show without doubt the number of vials sought, handed by the pharmacy, and stocked at the storeroom. But where the unscrupulous elements play is at the end-use stage. Without injecting the drug to all needy patients, these elements steal some of the vials and sell them outside, the sources noted.
“The case sheets of critically ill covid patients are not properly maintained, entries are not rightly made. There wouldn’t be any evidence of whether a particular patient was administered the injection or not. And there is no cross-checking mechanism. So these elements easily sneak out the drug,” said a source.
Remdesivir, a drug of limited efficacy that is not considered life-saving, is in short supply across the nation and is allegedly easily available at two hospitals in Tiruvannamalai, run by doctors employed at GTMCH. Patients from even far-off places reportedly source the drug from Tiruvannamalai.
When queried about the issue, top authorities of GTMCH refused to comment saying that the matter is ‘under police investigation’.
Director of Medical Education (DME) Dr. Narayanababu promised to look into the issue and find out how the drug was stolen.
“The police have already been holding investigations. We will definitely hold inquiries and check the records to find out how the drug was taken out of the hospital and initiate appropriate action,” he said.