Amphotericin B, the drug used to treat black fungus. (HT PHOTO)
Amphotericin B, the drug used to treat black fungus. (HT PHOTO)

Black fungus drug out-of-stock in Chandigarh

In the absence of the drug, Amphotericin B, doctors will have to use an alternative drug, posaconazole, which, as per experts, is effective but works slowly in black fungus treatment. As per protocol, hospitals send their drug requirement to director, health services, who further approaches the central government, which allocates the drug.
By Tanbir Dhaliwal, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON JUN 16, 2021 01:31 AM IST

The drug used to treat black fungus, Amphotericin B, is out of stock in Chandigarh as it has not received a fresh supply from the government. In the absence of the drug, doctors will have to use an alternative drug, posaconazole, which, as per experts, is effective but works slowly.

As per protocol, hospitals send their drug requirement to director, health services, who further approaches the central government, which allocates the drug.

Confirming that the drug is out of stock, Dr Amandeep Kang, director, health services, Chandigarh, said, “As per the latest update, we have been allocated 270 liposomal Amphotericin B and 140 conventional Amphotericin. But we have not received the delivery yet. Hopefully, we will get it in a day or two.”

She said she has requested for over 2,000 injections, of which 1,600 injections have been given to GMCH-32 and 400 to PGIMER, which also gets its separate allocation from the Centre, Dr Kang said.

GMCH-32 doctors are the most worried as there are 43 active black fungus cases in the hospital.

Dr Sudhir Garg, medical superintendent, said: “We got the drugs today, but it was not sufficient. We do not have stock for tomorrow. We are hoping that the department gets the drug by morning.”

Dr Surinder Singh, head of ENT department, who is managing the patients, said: “Liposomal Amphotericin B has less renal toxicity, which means it can be given in high dose, whereas toxicity of conventional drug is more, hence, it cannot be given in high dose. The efficacy of both the drugs is same, but conventional one, if given in high dose, impact kidneys.”

“We do not have any of the two drugs for tomorrow, hence, we will have to switch to alternative drug, which is effective but acts slowly.”

PGIMER is also dealing with shortage. PGI director Dr Jagat Ram said: “There is this daily struggle to procure the drug, but we have been managing.” He said the PGI has operated 225 black fungus cases, however, now the cases have started declining. Over the last two days, the cases have gone down from 15 a day to approximately 5 to 6.

GMCH-32, which has seen 78 patients, including 30 from Chandigarh, has not reported any decline. Dr Jasbinder Kaur, director principal, said: “Earlier, there would be 35-36 active cases, but now the number is 43. There is no decline.”

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