Covid-19 medication shortage creates panic in Kolkata: Report

Family members of patients run around the city with the hopes of finding medication
Last Updated : 17 July 2020, 12:01 IST

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The drugs Actemra and Tocilizumab can hardly be found in Kolkata.

A young woman named Rinku Banerjee travelled from Delhi to Kolkata with the hopes of finding Actemra for her father. The doctor had prescribed administering it immediately.

“I tried everything...white market, black market, grey market. But it was like banging my head against a wall. I am desperate. Need the medicine desperately for my dad," Ms Banerjee said. "I spoke to numerous people who don't want names mentioned. They are going by references...phone numbers…,” she told NDTV.

She spent over four days before coming close to finding the medication, according to the report.

One man had to carry vials of Tocilizumab for his father from Delhi to Patna. Consignments of the Cipla drug were allegedly monopolised by a state government with large Covid-19 numbers, says the publication.

Remdisivir, an American drug, is being brought in from Bangladesh and sold at several times the price markup of Rs. 5,000 Bangladeshi Takas. The Indian versions, Cipremi from Cipla and Covifor from Hetero, which are both in short supply.

People are buying drugs in the black market at inflated prices for the well-being of their family, said the report.

According to the report, the shortage could be rooted in the Center's decision to make medication available directly to hospitals (both public and private) from the manufacturer. Therefore, there is no stock of Covid-19 medication in pharmacies.

While Biocon and began production for Itocilizumab, which has the same formulation as Tocilizumab and an Actemra, it has still not undergone large-scale clinical trials.

Published 17 July 2020, 12:01 IST

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