ACB Stock – Mumbai: Paid higher price for Remdesivir to secure stock and save lives, says BMC chief | Mumbai News
Chahal said that more than the rate, the BMC’s priority was to secure enough vials for Covid-19 positive patients who would need the life saving drug in civic hospitals.
“Remdesivir vials have not been supplied to Haffkine yet since companies have expressed their inability to supply the vials at once. They can only do it in a staggered manner. Dynamics are changing everyday. On Tuesday, India recorded 872 deaths and there were 225 deaths in Maharashtra. The rates of Remdesivir change everyday since it is a warlike situation,” Chahal said.
The BJP has sought a probe by the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) into the BMC’s purchase of Remdesivir vials at 2.5 times the price at which the state run Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation (HBPCL) has bought in the same period.
The BJP has alleged that the BMC has spent around Rs 17 crore more to buy Remdesivir. The BMC placed an order for 2 lakh vials of Remdesivir on April 7 at Rs 1,568 per vial while the HBPCL placed orders for around 57,100 vials at just Rs 665 per vial on April 9. The BMC had purchased 50,000 vials of Remdesivir on March 25 at just Rs 650 per vial.
Chahal said that 17,000 patients required Remdesivir at BMC hospitals.
“We can’t let the patients die. I can’t allow citizens to die. The Pune divisional commissioner has requested BMC to spare 20,000 vials from our pool of two lakh vials bought for Rs 1,568 per vial to save lives in Pune. We have only bought these vials since no other company was willing to supply two lakh vials. So we had to secure the vials first. There are not comfortable decisions but had to be taken to save lives. Our intention was very clear,” Chahal said.
BJP corporator Vinod Mishra, however, pointed out that on April 7, Chahal had stated in an interview that the BMC had a stock of 36,000 vials.
“But on the same day, the Central Purchase Department (CPD) noted that there was stock of only 10,471 vials. The BMC should have mentioned in the work order that it reserves the right to increase or decrease the price. By buying at Rs 1,568, the BMC has hiked prices for all agencies,” Mishra said.