Odisha Assigns Squads to Prevent Hoarding of Covid-19 Medicines

Odisha government has formed 22 flying squads to prevent the hoarding of medicines and other essential medical supplies used in treating critical Covid-19 patients.

Seven out of the 22 units are assigned to reinforce the rules in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack and the remaining 15 would carry out the enforcement drives in other parts of the state.

The state government formed a three-member committee headed by the additional director general of police (Crime Branch) Yeshwant Jethwa to clamp down on black market operations of Covid-19 medication. Jethwa conducted a meeting with the drugs controller, officers of the commissionerate police, the Crime Branch and the special task force in this regard.

“Our verification drive is already underway. The verification of records and stocks covering the entire supply chain has been initiated. Sharp vigil and surveillance has been launched and our intelligence network has been intensified. Strong action under criminal laws will be taken against anyone indulging in hoarding, black marketing, or any such illegal acts,” Jethwa told the media.

As per sources, the state government has not yet discovered any case of circulation of drugs in the black market. However, as there has been a drastic shortage of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir and medical oxygen in several states, the government anticipates these malpractices.

The board will find out the people hoarding and illegally trading the drugs to patients. The anti-viral medicine should be provided only to the hospitals, not to patients directly.

“The Covid-19 caseload has been rising rapidly and demand for drugs like Remdesivir is growing. There could be an alarming shortage of essential medicines and subsequent black marketing by stockists. Unless we take preventive steps now, the situation may slip out of control,” a health department official stated. Remdesivir is being used to tackle severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) victims.

These enforcement units include officials of the police department, the STF of the Crime Branch and drug investigators from the health administration.

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