Remdesivir shortage hits private hospitals battling shortage of beds

Some admit that they could not get the drug from dealers for the last 36 to 48 hours

Updated - April 12, 2021 09:23 pm IST

Published - April 12, 2021 06:24 pm IST


At a time when private hospitals in Tiruchi and its peripheries are overflowing with patients showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection, some of them have reported a shortage of Remdesivir, a widely used drug, in the treatment.

Many private hospitals authorised to treat COVID-19 infection have started seeing several patients with the symptoms of the infection from the first week of April. The number of patients getting admitted to private hospitals in the city has tripled over the last few days.

According to sources, the Health Department has permitted about 18 private hospitals, a few of them corporate, in Tiruchi, Manapparai and a few other towns in the district, to treat COVID-19 patients.

Around 200 beds with oxygen facilities were earmarked for treating them. Except for a few beds in small hospitals, most COVID-19 wards in the hospitals were fully occupied and some hospitals have to turn away fresh cases.

Many patients have no option but to seek the services of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital (MGMGH). There are instances of relatives of the patients approaching influential persons to get recommendations for admission in private hospitals.

“We were made to visit at least five hospitals in the city for admitting two of my aged relatives with COVID-19 symptoms. We finally managed to get them admitted in a city hospital with a strong recommendation,” says a close relative of the patients belonging to a residential colony near Tiruchi Airport.

What is turning out to be agonising for some patients is the reported short supply of Remdesivir drug in private hospitals. Some hospitals admit that they could not get the drug from the dealers and the retail medical stores for the last 36 to 48 hours. In the absence of the drug, private hospitals invariably refer the patients to the MGMGH. However, they continue the treatment for the patients with mild symptoms with other standard drugs.

“There is a shortage of Remdesivir in the market. Our efforts to source the drug from leading dealers have failed. It is not available in the neighbouring cities as well. Hope, the problem will be solved in a few days,” says S. Sethuraman, former president, Indian Medical Association, Tiruchi chapter.

When contacted Joint Director of Health Services S.Lakshmi said sufficient stock was available in the government hospitals in Tiruchi district. If needed private hospitals could get the drug through the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation, she said.

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