COVID-19 Pune: DMER imposes restrictions on Tocilizumab injections

Salil Urunkar
Monday, 31 August 2020

Currently, 15,423 COVID-19 patients are admitted in various hospitals in the city for treatment. Of these, 834 patients are in critical condition. ​

Pune: The Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) has imposed restrictions on Tocilizumab injections which the manufacturing company itself claims is not effective for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. These restrictions will help in preventing malpractices in prescribing these medicines and thus its sale on the black market.

The COVID-19 outbreak is on the rise in the city. Currently, 15,423 COVID-19 patients are admitted in various hospitals in the city for treatment. Of these, 834 patients are in critical condition. Previously, COVID-19 patient relatives had a tough time in getting an oxygen bed or a ventilator in hospitals. Now that has changed with new jumbo hospital facilities coming up.

But now relatives of the COVID-19 patients have to run pillar to post to get these injections of Ramdesivir and Tocilizumab. According to the company that manufactures the injections, Tocilizumab injections are not effective in treating COVID-19 patients. This has also come to the fore in a survey conducted by the company. As a result, the company has stopped supplying the injections for the past 20 to 25 days.

As a result, there is a shortage of these injections in Maharashtra including Pune city. Despite this situation, doctors are insisting on prescribing these injections and therefore citizens are paying Rs 40,000 to Rs 42,000 per injection.

The district administration had also received a large number of complaints regarding the cost of injections and their shortage. Against this backdrop, the Directorate of Medical Education and Research has imposed restrictions on the use of these injections. The circular has been issued by the Directorate.

Dr Tatyarao Lahane, Director of Directorate of Medical Education and Research said, "The manufacturing company has itself claimed that Tocilizumab injections are not effective for the treatment of COVID-19 infected patients. The company has stopped producing the injection which has created a shortage of it in the market. But doctors are widely prescribing it. There is also a misconception among people that this injection is proving effective in COVID-19 treatment. Therefore, we have imposed restrictions on its use."

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