Almost 90 percent of the COVID-19 patients who were given fake Remdesivir injections, supplied by a Gujarat-based gang, have survived, Madhya Pradesh Police revealed.
Ten patients in Indore, who were injected fake Remdesivir, just glucose-salt water, died while more than 100 survived. During the investigation, police were surprised to compare the survival rates of patients who had taken the fake injections with those who had got the real ones.
The racket was busted by the Gujarat Crime Branch in Vapi on May 1. During interrogation, the accused revealed that they had sold around 1,200 fake Remdesivir injections in MP — 700 in Indore and 500 in Jabalpur. The gang had sourced empty vials from Mumbai, filled them with a glucose-salt compound, and pasted fake labels.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has asked to file murder cases against the racketeers arrested in MP. A case has been registered at Jabalpur's Omti police station against three suspects — Jarabjeet Singh, Sapan Jain, and Devesh — for attempted culpable homicide, adulteration of drugs, sale of adulterated drugs and cheating.
Police are trying to find ways to link mortalities with the duplicate injections without the dead bodies as none of them were buried. "Since their bodies have been cremated, investigating the side effects of the fake drugs is impossible," an officer said, according to a Times of India report.
The Centre has said Remdesivir may decrease hospitalisation time when used in moderate to severe cases, but there is no proven benefit in terms of reduced mortality. The surge in COVID infections led to a trigger in demand for the injection. According to the report, even quacks and non-medicos in parts of Madhya Pradesh started prescribing it.
On the other hand, MP Tourism and Culture Minister Usha Thakur on May 13 claimed that even fake Remdesivir injections saved lives, while an overdose of the original ones proved fatal for many.
“It seems many patients are dying because of the over or high dose of genuine Remdesivir and Tisotumab injections,” she said, adding she knew 15-17 such people who probably died of an overdose of the medicines, the Freepress Journal reported.