“The unprecedented increase in demand for some important medicines, used to treat Covid patients, has caused chaos. And now companies like
Or, et al have increased the production of manifold flasks. We promise that the supplies will be adequate, ”said Rajiv Singhal, Secretary General of the All India Organization of Chemists and Medicines (AIOCD), which represents over 9.50 chemists across the country.
JS Shinde, President of AIOCD, explains the reason for the shortage and delay in supplying Remdesivir, a life-saving drug for critically ill Covid patients, that producing one batch of this drug takes about 15-16 days.
JS Shinde said, “Remdesivir cannot be produced immediately. It involves a 15-day cycle, plus 3 to 4 days in packaging and rolling out. But now many manufacturers (around 7 to 8) have got a license and have increased production.” Adding, “At the moment, Remdesivir is distributed from respective manufacturers to their distributors. The stock goes directly to hospitals from distributors under the supervision of the state government. In this supply chain, chemists are not involved, so they can’t be blamed for hoarding.” .
While detailing the wide-ranging requirements of life-saving drugs for critical Covid patients, Rajiv Singhal said that with daily cases of around 3.75 lakhs observed in India, at least 70,000 patients will need a remdesivir injection. The Secretary General of AIOCD added: “Since each patient needs 6 vials, the country will need more than 4 Remdesivir injections per day. We hope that since most of the manufacturers have increased their production, the crisis of supply shortage of Remdesivir will be over.” According to him, there is a shortage of other drugs such as fabiflo and tocilizumab due to the sudden rise in demand. In many cases the stock does not reach the chemists. Besides there are problems in purchasing raw materials for manufacturing Fabiflu that come from abroad.
About the deficiency of Betadine gargle, recommended for the prevention of Covid-19 by many doctors, Rajiv Singhal said that due to the increased demand for Betadine, his manufacturer was unable to meet the current demands of the market. “Let me tell you, people who need one bottle of Betadine, now buy 4 bottles. Everyone who can afford, wants to store these medicines. In fact, this kind of mindset for storing essential medicines at home, is the reason behind the current shortage of some medicines since Last month… To be precise, after the second wave of Covid that affected us, people started stocking up on medicines, even vitamin C tablets, ”said Mr. Singhal, a veteran in the pharmaceutical trade for the past few decades.
Both key employees of AIOCD, JS Shinde and Rajiv Singhal, have denied any chemists’ involvement in selling life-saving drugs such as Remdesivir on the black market. “We have one of the largest networks of chemists that deal with lakhs. But you cannot name a single chemist involved in selling this vial on the black market. We explained earlier, that at the request of the government, this drug is now being distributed directly to hospitals. In fact, Wing boys, the staff of a few hospitals have been caught red-handed selling these medicines on the black market. By the way, clear instructions have been given to our members, this organization will not defend any chemist who is found stockpiling any medicines, ”Rajeev Senegal, Secretary General AIOCD said.