Covid-19: Dangerous drugs and oxygen cylinder mafia looming large in Hyderabad


Taking advantage of unease and panic among people, drug mafia has become overactive in Hyderabad. The mafia is cashing in on the fear of contacting coronavirus to sell killer drugs such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and FabiFlu tablets in the black market.

Two days ago Hyderabad Police arrested eight people who indulged in black marketing of emergency drugs used for Covid-19 patients and were taken into custody. Police seized 51 Remdesivir 100 mg injections, nine Actemra 400 mg injections and four 80 mg injections, apart from 180 strips of FabiFlu tablets and other drugs worth Rs 35.5 lakh. 

Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said, “The accused were involved in black marketing these generic versions of drugs that are actively used in the treatment of novel coronavirus. Remdesivir comes with a consent form that has to be filled and signed by the patient/attendants and concerned doctor at the time of administration of the drug.”

 This is just the tip of the iceberg. The Daily Guardian has come to know through police sources that the original cost of Remdesivir drug is around Rs 40,000 but it’s sold in the black market at over Rs 1 lakh. Depending on the urgency it’s sold at Rs 1.4 lakh near a hospital at Chaderghat in Hyderabad. The so-called drugs are mostly imported from Delhi and Gujarat to Hyderabad by some medical representatives and are sold without prescriptions. 

The Daily Guardian checked with leading medical shops for these drugs with the help of doctor’s prescription, they informed that except FabiFlu other drugs are not available and don’t know their prices as well. They took the reporter’s details before selling them. Medical shops are taking due care. It means the essential drugs have gone into the black market. 

On the other hand, Telangana Police continues to crack down on illegal oxygen cylinders. Many people who are quarantining at home due to Covid-19 are not able to access these cylinders and have to buy them from the black market and online. Hundreds of oxygen cylinders have been seized. Normally, seven litres of B type oxygen cylinder costs Rs 4,000 but it’s being sold between Rs 8,000 and Rs 12,000 and sometimes for more. 

The police said that they are keeping an eye on oxygen cylinders and their movement. The Chief Secretary of Telangana Somesh Kumar ordered the officials to check the oxygen cylinders and dealers and make them available for the patients. The agencies should not door deliver them without a doctor’s prescription, he said.

An oxygen cylinder dealer in Begum Bazaar in Hyderabad Mohammad Sharif said, “Many people are inquiring about oxygen cylinders but we are not selling them. We ask them about the purpose and usually, their reply is as a precautionary measure. We sell oxygen cylinders on a doctor’s prescription only. Public search on the Internet and ask us about the availability. The dealers are good people.”