CHENNAI: With the demand for Remdesivir, a drug found by doctors to be effective in treating patients with lung infection, increasing, private hospitals in the State have been hit by its shortage. Meanwhile, Indian Medical Association (IMA) made a representation to the State government on Wednesday seeking supply of the drug as the State has adequate stock for government hospitals.
Speaking to Express, Dr P Ramakrishnan, State president, IMA, said that the demand for the drug was widespread across the State, and some distributors were even fleecing desperate patients. “We have represented to the government seeking to provide us at least 250 vials each for all districts, so that we can distribute them to our approved hospitals. We need at least 7,000 vials. The government can even give us through joint directors of health department in the districts or through TN Medical Service Corporation,” he said.
While the price fixed by the government for the drug is Rs 600, some distributors were charging even `5,000 as desperate patients and attenders were still ready to buy it, said Ramakrishnan adding that the IMA had also made a representation to the government to monitor against hoarding and black marketing of drugs. Dr CN Raja, National Vice-President, IMA, said that with the pharmaceutical companies increasing their production, the demand for Remdesivir is expected to come down in a few weeks.
J Naveen, a Chennai-based resident, said that he had to struggle for a day to get the drug. “We couldn’t get it on Wednesday and reached almost 200 people, including distributors. Someone even demanded Rs 13,000 for one injection. But, on Thursday, we managed to get it for the government-fixed rate only through some contacts,” said Naveen.
The distributors also said that they were flooded with calls asking for the drug, but they could not supply it as there was no stock. Meanwhile, Dr T N Ravisankar, founder of Sudar Hospitals, said it was a struggle every day to get the drug. “It is not that easily available, and people have overpriced it against what has been fixed by the government,” he said.
As the Union government recently intervened, pharma companies recently reduced the prices accordingly. For instance, Cadila Healthcare Ltd, which used to sell one Remdesivir injection of 100 mg for Rs 2,800 earlier, has revised its price to Rs 899 and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, which used to sell it for Rs 5,400, has revised the price to Rs 2,700.