Even in the phase of growing deaths and thousands getting infected with Coronavirus in the State, black-marketing and hoarding of life saving medicines and necessary medical equipment is rampant in the State. Right from portable oxygen cylinders to Remdesivir injection, there are reports of people being forced to buy medicines and equipment at much higher rates than the fixed MRP.
Although, government has fixed the price of life saving Remdesivir injection, several pharmacists across the State are reported to be charging astronomical prices for it. Also, there are middlemen at hospitals fleecing the dying patients by charging them as much as Rs 1.5 lakh for 6 vials of the injection. They claim that the injection has been smuggled from neighbouring states and countries. However, no buyer or seller is ready to come on record and lodge a complaint with the authorities.
Similarly, equipment like PPE kits, Pulse Oxymeter etc are being sold at much higher rates than their MRP. Pharmacists in Ranchi are selling Oxymeters at the rate of Rs 2000-3000 more than double the price of their MRP.
On a complaint received Ranchi SDM Utkarsh Gupta raided a few medical stores on April 23 and found that PPE kits and other equipment were being sold at 4-5 times higher rates than their MRP. It was found that a PPE kit of MRP Rs 210 was being sold at Rs 800.
Although the Ranchi district administration has issued helpline numbers to complain about black-marketing during pandemic, very few people are coming forward to lodge formal complaints for the same.
The situation is worse in rural areas and small towns where supply of medicines and medical equipment is less and private hospitals and nursing homes are cashing in on the helplessness of people.