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Friday, June 18, 2021

Health official’s nod must for getting tocilizumab injection

According to Meerut Divisional Commissioner Surendra Singh, the government started regulating the sale of tocilizumab around 15 days ago following widespread black marketing and hoarding of the drug.

Written by Avaneesh Mishra | Lucknow |
May 18, 2021 10:00:27 am
Image used for representation only.

Amid reports of black marketing of tocilizumab injection, given to patients showing rapid respiratory decompensation caused by the coronavirus, the Uttar Pradesh government has regulated its sale and distribution. The government now issues a letter to the concerned provider each and every time when a patient requires the injection.

Following the regulation of tocilizumab sale, now the hospital writes a prescription letter mentioning the Interleukin (IL-6), C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and D Dimer test readings, which are then taken to district health authorities. Following the recommendation of the Divisional Commissioner, a letter is then written by the Additional Director (Medical Health and Family Welfare) to Cipla Limited which provides the drug to the hospital.

According to Meerut Divisional Commissioner Surendra Singh, the government started regulating the sale of tocilizumab around 15 days ago following widespread black marketing and hoarding of the drug.

In March, a phase-3 trial in India found that tocilizumab — an anti-inflammatory drug used primarily to treat rheumatoid arthritis — improves the outcomes in severely ill Covid-19 patients.

“Similar letters are issued in case of individual patients, and we try our best that the letter is issued within 20-25 minutes. The cost is around Rs 40,500 and is paid by the patient,” he added.

On Monday, a similar letter was issued by Additional Director (Medical Health and Family Welfare) in Meerut Division for one Sweta Kumari (38) admitted at Shanti Gopal Hospital in Ghaziabad. According to Chandra Shekhar Sinha, a relative of the patient, the hospital had provided them with a prescription at around 11 am on Monday and asked them to get the injection.

“I then went to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) office, from where I was sent to the district control room. There I met the SDM, who wrote a letter to the CMO, who forwarded the letter to the Additional Director (in Meerut) for necessary action,” said Sinha. A letter was issued by the Additional Director to Cipla to provide one vial of tocilizumab to the hospital. Kumar Manish, the husband of the patient, said that the hospital confirmed receiving the injection by around 4 pm.

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