Black market racket of drug Tocilizumab, which is considered to be significantly effective in the treatment of covid-19, has recently been exposed by the The Foods and Drugs Control Authority (FDCA) of Gujarat. On Wednesday, FDCA sent a decoy customer in disguise of a pharmaceutical trader to a pharmacy store, and thereafter negotiations led to a deal between the proprietor named Uma Kejriwal and the FDCA decoy, of a 400ml vial of Tocilizumab injection at the price of Rs. 57,000 – whereas the regular market price is Rs 40 thousand only.
The FDCA then arrested the women proprietor Uma Kejriwal, and at her wholesale pharmacy store named “Sarthak pharmacy”, three vials of Tocilizumab drug were confiscated. She was not able to furnish the bills of the confiscated drug, and on enquiry confess that she had procured them from a medical representative of a private pharma company in Adajan, Surat.
The drug Tocilizumab is believed to be effective in the covid-19 treatment and currently is being imported from Switzerland through a single Indian form only. But as the demand for it is much higher than the limited supply, the mentioned drug is now being sold in the black market.
The Gujarat government has procured 5000 vials of Tocilizumab from that Indian supplier, from which 2900 and 2100 were meant for the Government and private hospitals respectively that were treating coronavirus patients.
The Commissioner of FDCA of, Mr. Hemant Koshia, told, “The drug was obtained from the Indian supplier’s stock at Ahmedabad by an ex-employee in Ahmedabad, where the TB hospital employee’s bank accounts were used to carry out a transaction. Besides, overpricing offence, there are many other rules and regulations being violated in the entire shoddy business. The FDCA is investigating all those”.