KOCHI: Managing director of HOMCO, Dr P Joy, says they have produced around 1.25 crore strips of Arsenicum Album 30C since the pandemic outbreak. The production of the medicine has been increased to 3 lakh strips per day
A s the immediate fallout of Health Minister KK Shailaja’s statement about Arsenicum Album 30C, a homoeopathy preventive medicine, proving effective in keeping Covid-19 at bay, the demand for the immunity booster distributed by the Department of Homoeopathy has seen a significant spurt. With enquiries for the medicine going up, the department is gearing up to jack up its production in the state. In the wake of lack of funds for free distribution of the medicine, the department has asked the state government to allocate 90 paise per month for every person in the state for covering the expense of the monthly dosage. The government will have to spend close to Rs 13.5 crore to meet the demand.
The medicine is currently being manufactured by HOMCO’s (Kerala State Homoeopathic Co-operative Pharmacy Ltd) unit in Alappuzha which is producing around 1.5 lakh strips per day. With demand rising, the authorities have given direction to increase the number of personnel working in shifts to boost production.Managing Director of HOMCO Dr P Joy said they have produced around 1.25 crore strips of Arsenicum Album 30C since the pandemic outbreak. “We have increased the production and we now have the capacity to produce around 3 lakh strips per day. The booster dosages of the medicine should be administered every month. We will be able to steadily supply the medicine to cater to the entire population in Kerala,” said Joy.
He added that 90 per cent of the medicine produced was being distributed in Kerala. Each strip has 10 tablets and HOMCO is supplying the medicine to private pharmacies at the rate of Rs 3.5 per strip, which is being sold in the open market for Rs 10. “Many private companies have hiked the rate because of the demand,” he added. As per the statistics, the Department of Homoeopathy has distributed the first dose of the immunity booster to close to 2.13 crore people in the state while the second dosage was administered to around 69.97 lakh people.
The third and fourth doses were distributed to 14.79 lakh and 5.47 lakh people, respectively. President of the Kerala Government Homoeo Medical Officers Association Dr Muhammad Shafeek Masani said the Kerala government should allot more funds to the department to ensure supply of the medicine to the entire population. He said that apart from the Rs 1.5 crore they received from the National Ayush Mission, the department hasn’t received any fund from the state government.
“Some local bodies are taking interest and donating money for the medicine. We need financial aid from the government to continue the programme. Crores of rupees are being spent on modern medicine, but a focus on alternative preventive medicines will help in reducing Covid-19 cases in the state,” said Shafeek. He added that the government should do away with the deployment of homoeopathy practitioners at the Covid-19 First-Line Treatment Centres (CFLTCs).
“As per the data we have, around 48 lakh people visited homoeopathic dispensaries across the state after the pandemic outbreak. This shows the huge demand for homoeopathic and alternative treatments. Apart from demanding more funds, we have also requested the government to grant permission to conduct more research and treat mild and moderate Covid-19 cases,” he said.
Meanwhile, a protest is brewing among practitioners against the Indian Medical Association’s objection over the state’s decision to deploy homoeopathic doctors in Covid-19 facilities. “We will be observing September 11 as a black day to protest the remarks made by IMA by working one hour extra at homeopathy hospitals and dispensaries,” said Shafeek.