SKIMS must provide anti-viral ‘Remdesivir’ free of cost: Govt

Patients paying around Rs 17000 for 5 doses
Irfan Tramboo
SRINAGAR, Aug 8: While the SKIMS, Soura is not providing the anti-viral drug Remdesivir free of cost to the COVID-19 patients admitted there, the Government today said that the hospital has to provide the drug free of cost.
It had earlier come to the fore that the patients were and are being charged for the Remdesivir drug at the sales counter of the SKIMS at a cost of Rs 3400 per dose-which is said to be the nominal price of the drugs, cost to cost.
Attendants whose patient is undergoing management of COVID-19 infection said that the SKIMS administration is not providing the drug free of cost to the patients and are rather being charged, though, nominally. Few doctors at SKIMS also said the same.
The patient has to take at least 5 doses of the drug, which costs a patient Rs 17000. The market price of the drugs is said to be around Rs 5000.
On the other side, officials at the Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar told EXCELSIOR that they are providing the drug free of cost to the patients.
Meanwhile, the Government said that the SKIMS has to provide the drug free of cost to the patients and cannot charge them.
Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education (H&ME) Atal Dulloo told EXCELSIOR that they must provide the drug to the patients undergoing treatment.
“They should be giving the drug free of cost and I will look into the matter and make sure that the patients are provided with the same,” he said.
An official at SKIMS told EXCELSIOR on the condition of anonymity that the SKIMS is providing the drug cost-to-cost at its sales counter and cannot afford to give away the drug free of cost.
“The hospital is not in the state of giving it out free of cost, and while the drug is available here all the time, as it is not at the other hospitals in certain instances, the difference is that the patients just have to pay for it,” the official said.
In order to get the official version on the issue, this reporter tried to get in touch with the Director, Medical Superintendent as well as the COVID-19 Nodal Officer of SKIMS. Not a single official returned to the queries raised by Excelsior.