Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said the Centre should bring down the prices of medicines used to treat black fungus, a serious but rare fungal infection now affecting coronavirus patients, and increase their quota for the state.
Symptoms of Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, include headache, fever, pain under the eyes, nasal or sinus congestion and partial loss of vision.
Tope was speaking to reporters after attending a video conference meeting with Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, who interacted with health ministers from six states with a high COVID-19 caseload.
Tope said there are 1,500 cases of black fungus among COVID-19 patients in the state.
Patients with the suppressed immune system, diabetes and those with high iron levels in the blood are vulnerable to contract the disease which has high mortality rate, he said.
Tope said, "Amphotericin-B, a key medicine used for treating the black fungus infection, is expensive. One injection costs around Rs 6,000 and requires a number of doses, from 20 to 60, in many cases.
The Union government needs to bring down the MRP of this drug and other medicines to avoid their black-marketing.
I have already written a letter to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority regarding the same as states can not decide on pricing of these medicines, he said.
The Centre has asked domestic pharma companies to increase the production of medicines required to treat Mucormycosis, the minister said.