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From today, 5,000 free Remdesivir jabs daily for needy in Surat: BJP

On Friday, Surat district collector Dhaval Patel issued a notification, suspending allottment of excess stock of the injection to private hospitals from the NCH and the Surat Municipal Corporation-run SMIMER Hospital, saying the hospitals had only reserve stock left.

By: Express News Service | Surat |
April 10, 2021 9:25:22 am
Remdesivir to be available only in Covid hospitals, stores attached with hospitalsRemdesivir is an expensive drug and is in high demand for critical patients. (File Photo)

AMID HUGE demand for the anti-viral Remdesivir injection in the state, Gujarat BJP president C R Paatil, during a visit to Surat’s New Civil hospital on Friday,  announced that the BJP would give 5,000 anti-viral Remdesivir injections free of cost to needy patients from Surat BJP office, on a daily basis from Saturday.

The announcement came on a day when the state government, after its core committee meeting to review the injection usage, said that against the 1,63,716 Remdesivir injections used in the entire month of March, the government had made available 1,70,738 injections in the nine days of April alone and had placed orders for three lakh more Remdesivir injections.

On Friday, Surat district collector Dhaval Patel issued a notification, suspending allottment of excess stock of the injection to private hospitals from the NCH and the Surat Municipal Corporation-run SMIMER Hospital, saying the hospitals had only reserve stock left.

On Friday the state saw 4,541 new cases of Covid 19, hitting another high, with 42 deaths, the highest reported from Surat district at 15, followed by Ahmedabad at 12, Vadodara, six and Rajkot reporting four deaths. The same day, the state saw 2,280 persons recovering from Covid 19, highest this week, although the overall recovery rate fell to 91.8 per cent from 93.5 per cent on Monday.

Simultaneously, in Gandhinagar, the panel of doctors on the Covid 19 task force of the government, at a media interaction advised that Remdesivir be prescribed “only to those on supplemental oxygen” while Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who was on a visit to Morbi to review the Covid 19 situation, said “Experts believe that unnecessary use of Remdesivir injections damages vital organs such as the liver and kidneys. The government has a sufficient amount but it should be taken only if it is needed as per the advice of an expert doctor”, as per a government release.

The government also said it had procured  another consignment of 24,687 Remdesivir
injections on Friday. Food and Drugs Control Administration Commissioner Hemant Koshia said in a release, “There are only six manufacturers of Remdesivir in India who produce 3-4 lakh of the injection everyday and try to meet the demand of the entire country. In such a situation Gujarat has got 1,70,738 injections in just nine days”.

State BJP president Paatil told The Indian Express,  “We have made arrangements to buy 5000 Remdesivir injections from Zydus, and have placed orders.  We will get supply of 500 to 1000 injections daily from the company for Surat city.

The patients’ relatives from different districts in South Gujarat and also from Surat city who face problems in getting Remdesivir injections can come to BJP office, show the treatment file and doctors number and other necessary details, which will be verified by our people in the BJP office and later such injections will be given free ofcost to them. The first stock of such injections will come on Saturday.” Ahmedabad based Zydus began manufacturing Remdesivir injections under the brand name Remdac last August selling it for Rs 2,800 per 100 mg  lyophilized injection, whose price the company further dropped to Rs 899 last month.

A release from the BJP headquarter quoted Paatil as saying, “Amid the pandemic, there is a shortage of this injection and  all the BJP workers at the Surat city and district level who were concerned about Covid-19 patients, had made a representation before me, which is why we have made arrangements for this injection…The BJP worker has never let go of an opportunity to serve through the medium of power and that is why in such difficult times, the BJP and its workers are  taking care of (Covid) patients and are providing free tiffin service to patients and their relatives.”

Addressing mediapersons at NCH, Surat ,  Paatil said, “A couple of days ago, Chief Minister Vijaybhai Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel came to Surat to review the situation and made arrangements for Remdesivir injections at government hospitals. We have seen that patients relatives are facing great problems in getting Remdesivir injections for their dear ones in the hospitals, so we have made an arrangements that those who needed such injections they should contact Surat BJP office and get such injections at free of costs.”

Surat District Collector Dr Dhaval Patel on Friday evening issued a press release and mentioned that he had earlier put out an order, dated on April 6, mentioning that the excess Remdesivir injections, from New Civil hospital, Surat  and SMIMER hospital, Surat, will be given to the private hospitals in the district. In the press release, district collector Dr Dhaval Patel, had mentioned that his April 6 order had been withdrawn after seeing the situation on Friday, as both the hospitals has no excess stock except reserve stock of Remdesivir injections, so such arrangements of getting Remdesivir injections has been stopped from both the hospitals.

At Gandhinagar, infectious disease specialist Dr Atul Patel who is in the state Covid 19 task force said at the press conference,  that Remdesivir has seen a high demand as “doctors do not want to take a risk and people panicking” but clarified that about 80 percent of COVID19 patients can report spontaneous recovery with sufficient hydration, light exercise, rest and paracetamol. “They only need to be monitored closely, in case there is a specific immune system response,” added Dr Atul.
Among the remaining 20 percent of patients, Remdesivir must be given to only those on supplemental oxygen.

Dr Atul added, “Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) has clearly instructed when how and whom to give Remdesivir. Only in patients who need supplemental oxygen, then in such patients it can be given for five days. It is not a life saving drug but the advantage is it can make recovery fast and hospital duration can be reduced by 5 days…Mortality rate is not affected…If a patient is intubated, they should be given 10 day course of Remdesivir.”

“Once the virus enters and invade (the body’s immune system), then specific immune system is triggered and starts hyper functioning resulting in disregulated response, leading to inflammation in various organs such as lungs, liver, kidney, heart, brain…here, this dexamethasone (steroid) is helpful, that is once inflammation starts from disregulated specific immune system attack. Dexamethasone is a life saving drug in that sense…Tocilizumab too is a life saving drug if dexamethasone doesn’t work,” said Dr Atul.

When asked about Paatil’s statement about the party arranging for 5000 Remdesivir injections and how had the BJP got the injections, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel who holds the health portfolio said, “Please ask him. I do not have information (on that)”.

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