Shortage of Remdesivir in Pune district, no crisis of oxygen in hospitals: FDA

The Food and Drugs Administration on Friday stated there was a scarcity of Remdesivir injections in Pune although there was no disaster of oxygen in hospitals.

FDA joint commissioner S B Patil informed The Indian Express that scarcity of the life-saving medication is basically due to a substantial rise since January. “In January, there was a demand for 700 vials every day from hospitals. This has now gone up more than 20 times every day,” Patil stated.

Other senior FDA officers, who take care of the day by day inventory of Remdesivir, stated there are three to 4 suppliers of the drug to Pune district. “Two of them are based in Gujarat and one is Goa. We get Remdesir vial daily from them. Of the total vials, 14 per cent is reserved for Pune while rest go to other areas in Maharashtra,” officers stated.

Currently, FDA officers stated each day they had been getting 7,000 to 9,000 vials of Remdesivir at Phursungi depot. “But the demand from hospitals is for more than 15,000 vials. The demand has increased considerably,” officers stated.

FDA officers additionally attributed the scarcity to “irrational” use of the drug. “According to ICMR guidelines, Remdesivir injections should be given to moderate patients. However, doctors are prescribing to every other patient. Doctors are making families run from pillars to post to get the vials. The irrational use of Remdesivir is leading to its shortage,” an FDA official stated.

Prof Pravin Soni, head of COVID-19 part at PCMC-run YCM Hospital, stated, “Remdesivir is an anti-viral drug. We do not give it to patients who are stable and whose oxygen level is above 95 per cent. We prefer giving Remedesivir to those who blood oxygen level had started dipping or going below 93 or 92 per cent.” Prof Soni stated it’s true that some docs are prescribing Remdesivir to even steady sufferers, which is in opposition to ICMR tips.

Dr Shrikrishna Joshi, spokesperson, Lokmanya Hospital, stated, “Remdesivir is beneficial for moderately ill patients. According to the government guidelines, it should not be used routinely and is given along with steroids. Both work well in combination.”

Meanwhile, Patil stated there was no scarcity of oxygen required by hospitals in Pune although the sufferers on oxygen have elevated significantly. “We get 383 metric tonne oxygen every day but the demand is around 275 metric tonne. Besides, we also provide oxygen of around 25-30 metric tonne to other districts in Pune division,” he stated.

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