Anti-snake venom in short supply

Anti-snake venom in short supply

The State’s battle against acute shortage of anti-snake venom (ASV) appears endless as suppliers have been providing just a handful of vials to the Karnataka State Drug Logistics and Warehousing Society (KSDLWS).

While the KSDLWS, which allots drugs to all government hospitals, placed an order for 90,000 vials, just 500 have been supplied. This bare minimal stock has to be supplied to all government hospitals across the State.

These include general hospitals, taluk hospitals and primary health centres (PHCs). Time and again, there have been deaths across the State due to snake bites as there is no availability of ASV vials. Most cases of snake bites are reported from the rural areas, where ASV’s are usually out of stock. According to officials, only two manufacturers participated in the tender and the supply has been way below the mark.

“They are the only two companies from whom vials can be availed. The government has requested them to supply 8,000 vials a month. They said they would be able to supply just 6,000 vials as procuring raw material for ASV has turned difficult,” said the officials.  
Speaking to Deccan Herald, a top KSDLWS official said that in another two weeks, an additional 2,000 vials might be supplied. “We have placed the orders and the process has begun. However, not much has been made available now,” he said.

Five hundred vials will be placed at the disposal of district hospitals. The others hospitals will have to wait.

It may take another month for the vials to reach all PHCs.

The shortage has put lives at stake. A few weeks ago, 50-year-old Lakshmi (name changed) of Thirthahalli, Shimoga district, was rushed to the taluk hospital after being bitten by a snake but died hours later.

According to hospital sources, just two vials of ASV were available and the patient needed more. “There is no ICU facility to treat the patient. She had to be admitted to Medical College Hospital in Shimoga. Minutes later she died. Had there been ASV stock, she would have certainly survived,” sources added.  

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