In a bid to curtail unethical practices, the Public Health Department has advised the Medial Education Department that all retailers are to dispense Remdesivir only if it is accompanied by information submitted by the head of the hospital about the patient with a prescription in the given format till an alternate mechanism is worked out. The government has, thereby, asked retailers not to supply the injection without such a document attached with the hospital prescription.
According to Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas, in the last few days, crowds have been gathering outside retailers, asking for Remdesivir. It is unnecessarily leading to a lot of panic as every drug has its own usage and limitations. Remdesivir has been shown to reduce the duration of the stay in the hospital, but has no effect whatsoever on the mortality rate due to the COVID-19 infection. This needs to be highlighted. Further, it is of use only if prescribed in the initial few days based on the indications.
“Separate review is being taken of the producer companies as well as with Government of India officials to streamline the supply. However, at the same time, it is also necessary that doctors and physicians follow the protocol. We also need to capture the genuineness of the need, prescription and identity of the patient,” said Dr Vyas. He further stated that, earlier, in October, 2020, the Government of Maharashtra had come out with a scheme to supply Remdesivir to private hospitals at a fixed cost. As a part of that scheme, there was a format in which treating physicians were supposed to fill up information while prescribing this medicine.
The Health Department’s move came when the health commissioner has directed all district collectors to set up a control room to ensure smooth supply of Remdesivir injections in the state. Further, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope and Food and Drug Administration Minister Dr Rajendra Shingane held a meeting with the producers of Remdesivir vials and asked them to increase the production and cap its price. Dr Shingane had warned punitive action in case of black marketing.