Bengaluru: It's not just the shortage of liquid oxygen that the Karnataka government needs to look at after the transfer of patients from KIMS to seven other hospitals. It needs to look at the shortage of remdevisir in government hospitals and small private hospitals.
With the surge in the number of Covid-19 cases the demand for remdevisir is on the rise with patients’ attendants having to run to pharmacies at government hospitals to buy the medicine. The situation is worse in tier II cities like Raichur and Bijapur.
One health volunteer said patients from tier 2 cities like Raichur and Bijapur are coming to Bengaluru for treatment as the situation is bad there.
Remdesivir is given to patients with severe respiratory illness when their oxygen saturation dips below 94%. The antiviral drug comes in 100 mg vials. The Karnataka State Drugs Logistics and Warehouing Society currently has 22,600 vials of remdesivir in stock.
In Bengaluru, the big corporate hospitals corner supplies of remdisivir as soon as they arrive. If any stock is left over, it is distributed to smaller hospitals like Shifa, ESI and HBS.
A senior government doctor at ESI hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Deccan Chronicle that there is a huge shortage of remdevisir and "sometimes we ask the patients' attendees to procure it."
He added, “The situation is horrific,” he said.
Dr Suryanarayan, the Covid nodal officer at the ESI Hospital said, “The drug comes in 100 mg vials and a patient needs five courses of the drug. On the first day we give 200 mg followed by 100 mg on subsequent days.”
One patient’s attendant said, “My brother was admitted to the ESI hospital. The hospital clearly said that there was no stock of remdesivir and that it would take a day for them to procure the drug. Somehow I had to source it from Victoria hospital.”
Remdesivir is not available in pharmacies, it can only be procured at hospitals or the national helpline from where it can be procured.
Even private hospitals are facing a difficulty in procuring the drug. "Although there is a process to get it through DHO or through SAST channels they are very difficult to procure. When the doctors/hospitals explain this problem to patients, many times the attendants offer to procure it themselves. We do not refuse it if they procure it. We are all in this together," said Dr Jagadish Hiremath, CEO of Ace Suhas Hospital.