Pune: Shortage of Tocilizumab in city amid the surge in COVID-19 cases

Chaitraly Deshmukh
Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Tocilizumab, which is used to help cure the COVID-19 patients is in huge demand in Pune. However, the drug is currently is witnessing the shortage in the market

Pune: Tocilizumab, which is used to help cure the COVID-19 patients is in huge demand in Pune. However, the drug is currently is witnessing the shortage in the market. Currently the city needs nearly about 100 injections per day on an average and need the supplying them largely. However, the shortage is likely to intensify if the number of patients increases.

The city had 94 patients on ventilators on Sunday. Almost all of them are being given this injection.  Currently the number of patients on the ventilator is around and more than hundred. The daily supply is limited. If the number of critically ill patients increases, there may be a shortage of the medicine because, at present, only Cipla is producing this drug.

Adequate stocks of Remdesivir, Itolizumab is needed. Meanwhile, both injections are given only to the critically ill patients. However, Remdesivir is being manufactured by three companies. Thus, its stock is adequate. To get this injection, you must get the doctor's prescription and the doctor's full name, registration number, patient's Aadhar card and his coronavirus positive report on it.

Tosilizumab - Original price Rs 41,000 but also available in the range of Rs 31,000 to 34,000 for two injections per patient. The Remedesivir cost  Rs 5,400 that are six injection antibodies and Italizumab is costs Rs 7,950.

Narayan Tapadiya, drug wholesaler said, "If a patient needs Toxilizumab, Remdesivir injection, they must have a prescription from the doctor. There is a huge demand and continous phone calls for  the same."

"Currently, the demand for Tosilizumab, Remdesivir drugs has increased. Compared to that, drugs are not available. I have a demand for 22 to 25 injections a day. There is currently a shortage of these drugs,” said Deepak Kasar of Sairaj Distributor.

When contacted SB Patil, Joint Commissioner, FDA (Department of Drugs) denied shortage and said, "The city currently has adequate stocks of Remdesivir and Itolizumab. Tosilizumab is also available in sufficient quantities. Also, there is no hoarding anywhere mentioning shortage."

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