They are monitoring the drugs in demand to anticipate which one would be in short supply and end up in the black market

Telangana police are seeking a ‘101 lesson’ on drugs used in treatment of COVID-19. In this regard, the men in khaki are speaking to doctors on an unusually regular basis, jotting down names of the medicines currently in demand to anticipate which drugs might be in short supply and end up in black market.

This step was taken after COVID-19 antiviral-drug Remdesivir and a few other drugs were sold at exorbitant prices in black market which left deep anguish among already distressed families and friends of the patients.

Police top brass held tele and video conferences with doctors where drug supply chains, pharma companies which manufacture them, how the stocks are distributed, and others were discussed. The information gathered is sent by top police officials to their subordinates to keep track.

In touch with hospitals

Speaking to The Hindu about their unusual exercise, Cyberabad Commissioner of Police VC Sajjanar said that liaison officers of all small and big hospitals treating COVID patients are in regular contact with police personnel who keep them updated about the cases, medicine stocks, and the disease trend.

“This is done to know if demand for any particular drug is surging, indicating a chance that it too might be sold in black market to loot people,” he said.

According to Mr. Sajjanar, every major drug used for the treatment of COVID and Black Fungus patients has to go through hospitals only. “If the drug is sold outside the hospital, then it’s illegal. The entire process is very clear and streamlined now,” he said.

Not only in the State capital, the situation is similar in the districts as well. There the unit officers are coordinating with the hospitals to keep themselves updated with beds, medicines and oxygen. Outside Hyderabad, a large number of multi-speciality hospitals are situated only in Khammam, Warangal and Karimnagar.

Decoy operations

“Apart from taking regular updates from the private hospitals, we are also conducting decoy operations to check whether the hospital staff is black marketing the lifesaving drugs to people in distress,” Khammam Commissioner of Police Vishnu S. Warrier said.

He said that the district has sufficient stock of Remdesivir and other drugs, as a result black marketing cases have come down drastically.

“Our Task Force teams are also checking if the hospital are treating COVID patients without valid permission from the government and others violating the bill norms,” Mr. Warrier said.

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