Visakhapatnam

Vitamin C tablets fly off shelves

Drug dealers say they are not getting adequate stocks from Telangana.   | Photo Credit: File photo: K.R. Deepak

There seems to be an acute shortage of vitamin C tablets at drugstores in the city. Thanks to COVID-19, the otherwise ‘slow moving’ tablets are disappearing from the shelves with the drug promising to boost the much-needed immunity in times of the pandemic.

The popular ‘Limcee 500 mg’, which used to be sold at ₹1.10 paise for a tablet, is no longer available. A few other brands are available at five times the cost and even these seem to be in short supply as consumers are bombarded with messages from all and sundry, and not just doctors, on the importance of increasing the intake of vitamin C to keep the immunity levels high to fight the coronavirus.

“I went round several medical stores at Seethammadhara, Muralinagar and Gopalapatnam but could not get Limcee. A few stores were, however, selling other vitamin C brands at prices ranging from ₹5 to ₹8 a tablet, which is nearly five to eight times the price of Limcee. The common man will have to shell out ₹150 to ₹240 a month for 30 tablets as against ₹33 for the popular brand,” says a resident of Seethammadhara.

“This is not all. The drug manufacturers have reduced the dosage of vitamin C tablets to 250 mg (instead of 500 mg for Limcee) and increased the price. This will cause an additional financial burden on the common user,” he said.

Meanwhile, Suresh Somayajula, TDP Medical Cell president, gave a representation to Drugs Inspector N. Kalyani complaining of the acute shortage of vitamin C tablets and the need to take remedial measures. He noted that availability of the essential vitamin supplement in the drugstores, especially generic medical stores, was limited and the price has increased ₹1 (before lockdown) to ₹5 per tablet after the lockdown.

‘Stock diversion’

He said that there was a talk of diversion of stock to Maharashtra. He appealed to the Drugs Control Authorities to look into the issue.

Drug dealers say they are not getting adequate stocks from Telangana, where a number of pharma companies are located. The demand post-COVID has gone up substantially and the dealers are said to be getting one box, when they place an indent for 10 boxes of vitamin C tablets. The dealers justify the hike in price to the increased cost of transport due to COVID-19.

“Manufacturers cannot hike the price according to their whims and fancies when the product pertains to vitamin C alone as it comes under price regulation. However, they can hike the price in the case of combination drugs,” Assistant Director, Drugs Control Administration, K. Rajitha, told The Hindu, when contacted on Monday.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 4:36:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/vitamin-c-tablets-fly-off-shelves/article32154128.ece

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