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Home / Mumbai News / Shortage of hydroxychloroquine in city: Chemists, pvt hospitals

Shortage of hydroxychloroquine in city: Chemists, pvt hospitals

mumbai Updated: May 23, 2020 00:17 IST
Rupsa Chakraborty
Rupsa Chakraborty

The city is facing a shortage of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a drug used for prevention (prophylaxis) as well as treatment of Covid-19, according to medical experts at private hospitals and chemists. The scarcity is also affecting patients suffering from arthritis and lupus, as the medicine is used to treat the diseases.

While there is no medicine to treat Covid-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended HCQ as a preventative drug for healthcare workers. “We don’t have HCQ. When we get patients, we have to hunt for the drug to administer it. The government should ensure that private hospitals have adequate amount of HCQ for its patients,” said Dr Deepak Baid, president of Association of Medical Consultant (AMC).

HCQ is a less toxic derivative of chloroquine, a drug used in treatment of malaria. With the rising demand and government buying bulk, arthritis and lupus patients are forced to do the rounds of pharmacies across Mumbai. “I have medicines for three days. My daughter has been trying to procure the drug for four days, but can’t find it. We need the medicine as it has anti-inflammatory properties and it provides relief,” said a 57-year-old woman from Borivli who suffers from arthritis. Her family members even visited government hospitals in search of the drug.

With growing awareness about use of HCQ in treatment of Covid, people have been trying to stock up on it using fake prescriptions or through black markets. “As the government has imposed restrictions on the sale of HCQ, people are getting desperate. Many chemists are selling it without bills, at a higher rate. Many suppliers have hoarded the drugs to increase the price,” said Abhay Pandey, national president, All Food and Drug Licence Holder Foundation (AFDLHF).

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) held a meeting with the manufacturers of HCQ instructing them to increase the supply. “On Thursday, we asked the manufacturers to increase the production,” said JN Mantri, joint commissioner of Maharashtra FDA.

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