Why shortage of COVID ‘treating’ drugs

Do most of us whether in the Government, or in business or as individuals very often fail to respond and react to national emergencies very positively like responsible, law abiding and helpful citizens? If not, what are the reasons of those medicines which are critical in treating serious patients affected by the Corona-virus getting vanished from the markets and surprisingly being short of requirements in hospitals too? If horrible experiences of the sufferers as appearing in the media and even in social media are to be believed, most of the medicines even from other recognised systems of medicines in India supposed to be helpful in ”treating” COVID patients too are found ”out of stock” exhibited on the limited shops or for that matter, oxygen cylinders reported to be available at whopping prices or the allied equipment otherwise costing a few thousand of Rupees going in black, many times more as much, all depicting the pitiable mindset of those people who instead of being helpful to fellow suffering citizens in this hour of great difficulty, choose to make the best (or worst) of the opportunity. Such elements responsible need to be given exemplary punishment for creating shortages and black marketing in a heart rending situation in the country, replete with more and more people falling sick, struggling for getting medical treatment, gasping for oxygen to breathe and unfortunate deaths taking place. Second wave of the COVID virus, with all its rage and speed, is troubling more and more people in our UT of Jammu and Kashmir and within the given infrastructure, medical personnel of all hues – our COVID warriors – are doing their best but it surprises us that the prestigious Government Medical College, Jammu and almost all leading hospitals in Kashmir valley, have been facing acute shortage of an important anti viral drug known as Remdesivir which is helpful in treating COVID patients by administering via injection. Whence has this shortage taken place, at least, because nothing of the sort was heard last year and what are the specific reasons given by the J&K Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL) in this regard, must be made known. Needless to add, and as only medical experts can authoritatively clarify, that the shortage of this drug across the country, may also be due to the reasons of procuring it when it is not really needed by all COVID patients. It is generally given only in the first week in moderate to severe patients but since we talk of hospitals, the discretion of the Doctors being exclusive, the shortage is felt only when Doctors require it for the needy patients. We learn that the Central Government has reportedly not only waived import duty on this drug but production in the country has been upped to as many as 3 lakh vials per day. Why, then, no perceptible improvement is visible ? In other words, the average daily infection cases are, unfortunately, over three lakh for the last seven days and it should be ensured that this essential drug imported as well as indigenously produced, thus its shortage removed as claimed, must be reflected in the availability of this drug in hospitals on priority basis where in treating the COVID patients, this drug is needed. For the time being, supplies for the open market may be curtailed which will contain unscrupulous elements from selling the same over a premium in black market. However, the mismatch of demand and the supply in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir of this drug over the last few days, being in the ratio of 50:130 and even 80:133, though appearing not much but the early recovery of those patients stands to be jeopardised who could not receive it or received it late. We are conscious of the tremendous pressure on the existing and supplemented medical infrastructure in the UT on account of the sudden surge in the virus infections with its new deleterious impact and do not underrate the care and the treatment provided in Government COVID designated hospitals but availability of essential drugs in hospitals and allied equipment like sufficient oxygen availability, must be ensured on top priority so that the patients did not suffer any more.