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Shortage of Covid drugs hampers speedy cure

Deccan Chronicle| Kaniza Garari

Published on: August 11, 2021 | Updated on: August 12, 2021

Imported medicines like tocilizumab are under the state government regulations

A patient requiring this medicine will have to wait for at least 24 hours till the process of procurement is completed. Representational Image. (AFP)

A patient requiring this medicine will have to wait for at least 24 hours till the process of procurement is completed. Representational Image. (AFP)

Hyderabad: Severe shortage of Covid-19 medicines has turned out to be a big worry for those who are affected with the pandemic and the medical fraternity which extends treatment to them, apart from the healthcare department.

Imported medicines like tocilizumab are under the state government regulations which makes procurement possible only after the approval from the state committee.

A patient requiring this medicine will have to wait for at least 24 hours till the process of procurement is completed. In a recent case of a 45-year-old patient requiring this medicine, doctors had to put up a note on social media through which the distributor company officials contacted them. After that there was e-mail interaction of exact status and need for medicine evaluated. Medical papers and status of patients on the day of application were submitted and put before the state government committee. After it was scrutinised, medicine was supplied by a distributor to the hospital only.

A senior doctor who is treating the case stated, "It is a time-consuming procedure and during the non-peak times of Covid-19, at least these must be expedited. To procure the medicine, we had to take the help of social media and only after that the process started. What does this mean?"

Doctors who have been circulating various messages of requirements state that this has now become a common practice as the 'genuineness' is validated only on social media.

M Chandrashekar, drug inspector at the Telangana Drug Controller says, "This is an imported medicine and there are limited stocks allocated to states. If there is a requirement, hospitals have to directly approach the distributor who will explain and also facilitate the procedure and also procurement of the medicine. This medicine is now not available on retail counters."

The biggest worry for health and drug control administration is black-marketing of medicines. For this reason, they are not de-regulating it. Dr Ramesh Reddy, director of medical education says, "These biological drugs have to be monitored and cannot be given to everyone. We evaluate whether the patient really requires it and then sanction the medicine. It must also be noted that this is one way in which hoarding of these important drugs can be controlled."

Presently, the stocks in every state are monitored by Central agencies as there has been severe shortage of Covid 19 medicines during the second wave. For this reason, company distributors and stock points in different parts of the state are monitoring every batch of medicine and its dispatch is recorded.

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