Shortage of mucormycosis medicine in Maharashtra: Rajesh Tope
Shortage of mucormycosis medicine in Maharashtra: Rajesh Tope
ANI Photo

As many as 90 people have died of the fungal infection `mucormycosis' in Maharashtra so far and there is a shortage of a key medicine needed to treat it, state public health minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.

More than 200 patients with mucormycosis (also called Black Fungus) were detected in the last one week and he had urged the Union government to increase the supply of Amphotericin-B injection which is used in its treatment, he said.

"So far, 90 people have died due to mucormycosis in Maharashtra. It is serious....it should not be taken lightly," he told reporters here, without specifying the period during which these deaths were reported.

The rare but fatal fungal infection is seen mostly in COVID-19 patients or survivors.

"Indiscriminate use of steroids to treat COVID-19 patients should be avoided," the minister added.

"Maharashtra in the last week added some 200 to 500 patients of mucormycosis. Of 1,500 patients detected so far, some 500 have recovered while another 800 to 850 are still under treatment," the minister said.

The state needs 1.50 lakh to two lakh vials of Amphotericin-B right now, but has received only 16,000 from the Centre, he claimed.

The available vials have been disbursed to all the districts as per the number of mucormycosis patients in each district, he said.

The Centre entirely controls the allocation of the medicine, he said.

"Maharashtra has placed an order for 1.90 lakh vials of the medicine, but delivery is the problem because its supply is controlled by the union government. Our demand is do anything, but give more vials to Maharashtra because cases of Black Fungus infection are on rise," Tope said.

Two companies are going to supply the medicine to Maharashtra after May 31, therefore the next 10 days are critical, he said.

He had spoken to Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Statefor Chemicals and Fertilisers and asked him to increase the supply of raw material for the medicine, Tope said.

"There are some pharma units in Wardha and Palghar districts where the medicine can be made. From one kilogram of raw material, 20,000 injections of Amphotericin-B can be produced," he said.

"The state has made two kg of raw material available but it takes 20-25 days to manufacture the injection," Tope added.

The state government has decided to bear the cost of the treatment as well as medicines for mucormycosis patients irrespective of their income levels, he said.

"Depending on the severity of the infection, the requirement of the injections varies from 60 to 100," the minister said, adding that the state has decided that nobody should be deprived of treatment for want of money.

"All these patients will be treated under the state government's Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Yojana, for which an official order has already been issued," he said.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to speak (through video link) with the collectors of some 15-17 districts in the state where cases of mucormycosis have been found in large number," Tope added.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in