The Remdesivir injections in Maharashtra continue to be in short supply. Medical experts say that as the number of Covid patients continue to rise the demand is spiking in the State.
Last year in September, when the pandemic had peaked in the State, Remdesivir was also in huge demand. It is an anti-viral drug known to control the Covid infection.
On April 8, State Health Minister Rajesh Tope had also raised the issue of the Remdesivir injections with the Centre and had sought additional supply on an urgent basis.
Immediate Past President of Indian Medical Association (Maharashtra), Avinash Bhondwe, said that Remdesivir needs to be given when a patient has mild to moderate symptoms. But today due to the widespread pandemic in the State, the number of patients with mild to moderate symptoms is huge. It is this number, which has caused the scarcity. It is a demand and supply mismatch, as the State has over 5 lakh active cases of Covid, he said.
Doctors under fire
Bhondwe pointed out that last year in September when the pandemic had peaked, 20,000 people were getting infected every day. “At that time also the Remdesivir was used. Today 50,000 patients are being reported every day, but doctors are being blamed for using it in excess. It must be remembered that when a doctor administers Remdesivir it is for saving a patient life,” he said.
An intensive care specialist said that Remdesivir is one of the drugs for treatment of critically ill. If the State Government wants it can always procure the Remdesivir injections, as Public Health is under its purview. Excess stocks can be procured for such situations. However, it is being unnecessarily being given a political colour. Some alternative drugs are also available and doctors are also using it.
But, on the other hand, Remdesivir needs proper handling as it needs to be stored properly.
Bhondwe added that Remdesivir injections are shipped in a powder form along with a solution. The injections are prepared by mixing the powder with the solution. Once the solution is mixed, it cannot be stored for long it needs to be administered immediately to the patient.
Today the process of procurement of the injections is controlled by State Government through the District Collector. However, it is possible that some anti-social elements at times could be taking advantage of this situation, Bhondwe said.