At Ruby Hall Cancer centre, Dr Vijay Ramanan is desperately trying to contact the drug store at Poona hospital for the last of four injections required for the fourth dose of chemotherapy for a 40-year-old blood cancer patient. “I have given three injections and the fourth is not available now due to the chemists’ strike,” says the haemotologist. ENT surgeon Dr Seemab Shaikh had to finally advise his patient to get admitted to a hospital for treating high grade fever and throat pain as all the drug stores were shut and relatives could not purchase antibiotics.
At Chandannagar, Mandakini Khule, a former corporator, is trying in vain to get medicines for her three-month-old granddaughter who is suffering from loose motion and vomiting. Finally the doctor gave an injection as temporary relief. Sneha Dalbhanjan of Wadgaonsheri has no option but to admit her five-year-old daughter who has a kidney swelling in hospital at Mundhwa instead of running from pillar to post.
Several citizens are bearing the brunt of the strike. Many have also been caught unawares. Prashant Zarekar, who took his daughter to a paediatrician, was shocked to find that none of the drug stores on Nagar Road were open. “I came to Hadapsar but there, too, the drug stores were shut. I will have to go to KEM hospital,” adds Zarekar.
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“There is a huge rush at drug stores attached to hospitals in the city,” says Gautam Khandelwal, manager at Poona Hospital drug store. Shaji John, general manager at Ruby Hall Pharmacy, says that they have two drug stores — one which remains open 24X7 and another that shuts at 8 pm. “Owing to the chemists’ strike, we plan to keep both open 24/7,” said John.
Dr Dilip Sarda, state president of Indian Medical Association, said, “From Chandnagar, patients have to go either to Ruby Hall Clinic or Inlaks Budhrani hospital,” he said.