Indiscriminate use, hoarding of Remdesivir create injection shortage in Pune

During the Wednesday’s press conference, Tope said that all district administrations have been asked to ensure that every injection is used judiciously
People queue up to buy Remdesivir at a store run by the Chemists Association of Pune District, near Bajirao road in Pune, on Wednesday. (Kalpesh Nukte/HT PHOTO)
People queue up to buy Remdesivir at a store run by the Chemists Association of Pune District, near Bajirao road in Pune, on Wednesday. (Kalpesh Nukte/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Apr 08, 2021 04:08 PM IST
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BySteffy Thevar

City hospitals have started facing acute shortage of Remdesivir as there has been a surge in demand for the injection. As per the current needs, Pune requires at least 8,000-8,500 vials of the drug daily and gets a supply of about 16,000-17,000 vials every alternate day.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials have stated that hoarding of the injection could cause artificial shortage while Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said that indiscriminate use of the life-saving injection is being administered without following protocol issued on March 23 this year.

To curb the misuse of the drug, the district administrations have now been asked to investigate any indiscriminate use of the drug and also capped the price of the drug between 1,100 and 1,400. The health minister on Wednesday said that to curb the shortage of oxygen the state might also decide to shut industries that consume maximum oxygen.

During the Wednesday’s press conference, Tope said that all district administrations have been asked to ensure that every injection is used judiciously. “During the meeting with officials from each district, I stressed on the monitoring if there’s any indiscriminate use of Remdesivir. The state is getting 50,000 doses every day and all of them are being consumed, leading to shortage,” said Tope.

The anti-viral dose is being used to treat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome patients before it was directed for Covid-19 treatment last year. Currently, doctors and hospitals are prescribing the injection even for those suffering with mild problem of breathlessness, Tope said, adding it’s a violation of the protocol.

In view of those instructions, district collector Rajesh Deshmukh has instructed Covid hospitals to buy only the required stock of Remdesivir and not to hoard stock. Also, hospitals have been asked to maintain a register with each patient’s name and address to ensure that the right patient gets the injection. The hospital must return unused vials to the patient’s relative.

FDA joint commissioner for Pune division, SB Patil, said, “Pune needs about 8,000 vials daily as of now and we have only 4,000 vials available. We will get replenishments by tonight. We usually get 16-17 thousand vials every alternate day so there is no shortage as of now. We have hospitals to ensure that they have to buy only the required vials of Remdesivir and not stock estimating for the future.”

Tope said the process to increase beds in all major hospitals has begun. Tope said, “We will increase 200 more beds for Covid in BJ medical college, 200 at Dalvi, 500 at Baner and 200 at COEP. To cope with shortage of oxygen, if need be, we will shut the industrial units consuming maximum oxygen and the refilling sites will be monitored to ensure any leakage.”

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Thursday, December 02, 2021