The Noida Police has arrested two people in connection with the illegal distribution of Amphotericin B, a drug used to treat black fungus.
According to the police, the accused, Anurag and Ankit, would work with pharmacies to obtain anti-fungal injections at a low cost and then resell them in the NCR at a higher price.
The arrests follow the UP government's declaration of mucormycosis, or black fungus, as a notified disease, with demand for anti-fungal medications gradually increasing. More than 15 patients in the Gautam Budh Nagar district have been given antibiotics to treat the infection. Over 40 patients with symptoms similar to black fungus are being treated in Ghaziabad hospitals.
"We received information from locals that two persons had been selling medicines at nearly six times the original price. Since these medicines are crucial for treatment, families of patients end up paying more money. We traced a transaction and arrested Anurag, who works in a pharmacy. Along with the other accused, Anurag obtained and sold these injections. Further investigation is pending", said an official from Section 58 police station.
Anurag worked as a supervisor in a pharmacy in Noida, according to police. According to police, the main accused was in contact with other medicine suppliers and had identified ways to obtain Amphotericin vials at a lower cost than the market rate.
According to police, once the medication was obtained, accused Ankit would go around hospitals and meet the families of patients to offer them the injection. Due to the fear of scarcity, families would be forced to pay exorbitant prices of up to Rs 20,000 for a single vial.
While police recovered two injections from the accused's possession, they are still investigating the total number of such injections sold.
An FIR has been filed for fraud as well as violations of relevant sections of the Epidemic Act.
Meanwhile, in a meeting with hospital representatives, the Ghaziabad administration reviewed its preparedness for black fungus. Officials have been asked to keep a separate record of how many medicines and injections have been procured and distributed for black fungus treatment in order to prevent black marketing.
As more information about the disease becomes available, doctors have been asked to prepare an official advisory on the matter.