Lengthening queues for vitalanti-viral drug spark concern

Patients attendants wait outside Government College of Physiotherapy in Tiruchi on Wednesday.  

Since the daily sale of Remdesivir through a counter has been capped at 300 vials by Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation, those attending to COVID-19 patients find themselves in a compulsive situation of queuing up for lengthy durations spanning even two days for the anti-viral drug.

TNMSC opened a counter at Government College of Physiotherapy opposite the District Collectorate here on Saturday. While the initiative was supposed to control the sale of the medicine in black market, the restricted sale has apparently led to panic buying.

The counter has provision for two queues, one for tokens and another for purchase of the drug. Both queues are getting lengthier every passing day. “We have been standing for two days. We are helpless and require the medicine for the treatment of my father,” an attendant said.

People from neighbouring districts, even as far as Nagapattinam, have travelled to Tiruchi despite the lockdown to purchase Remdesivir. Desperate to get it, they choose to remain in the queue.

Manoj Dharmar, an activist in the city who also stood in line on Wednesday apprehends that the counter itself can become a hotspot for spread of the viral infection.

“These are primary contacts of patients who have already tested positive. It is risky," he pointed out.

Further, a large number of women have queued up, and there are no toilet or restroom facilities for them, he added.

Mr. Manoj suggests that the people can be made to wait on the campus which has a large ground. “They are forced to sit by a drainage pipeline through the night. Opening up the ground will help them rest for a while.

A doctor in the city posted to the COVID-19 ward echoes Mr. Dharmar's thoughts. He says the State government can distribute the medicine to hospitals directly, or allow them to book the tokens for the drug online.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 4:28:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/lengthening-queues-for-vital-anti-viral-drug-spark-concern/article34545115.ece

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