Officials of the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will crack down on those involved in black-marketing of Remdesivir, a drug used to treat Covid-19 patients, state Food and Drug Administration Minister Rajendra Shingne said on Friday
Shingne was addressing media persons along with Health Minister Rajesh Tope, who is on a three-day visit to Vidarbha.
“There are complaints about black-marketing of Remdesivir. A few days ago, one particular batch of the medicine had failed, creating a shortfall of 20,000 vials. But six producer companies have promised to provide 1,10,000 vials soon. So, there will be enough medicine available,” said Shingne.
However, he added, “It has been observed that doctors are liberally using the drug at the first stage when it is to be administered only at the second stage. We will issue a circular to direct them to rationally use the drug so only the needy get it on priority.”
Tope, who visited Bhandara and Gondia districts on Thursday, visited some Covid facilities run by the government in Nagpur on Friday. He issued several directions to local authorities, and also announced that the government will soon issue a circular to direct doctors on Covid duty to report to non-Covid duty for seven days, after a gap of one day following a seven-day stretch of Covid duty.
“Now, many doctors go into seven-day quarantine after Covid duty. That’s not needed. They can report to Covid and non-Covid duties alternately after a gap of one day and the government will soon issue a circular to that effect,” said Tope.
Tope also told Divisional Commissioner Sanjiv Kumar that the number of RT-PCR tests in Nagpur district should be doubled. “I found that there is scope to increase them by 100 per cent. Currently, the focus seems to be on more antigen tests. I have told Sanjiv Kumar that the RT-PCR tests should be increased by 100 per cent,” he said.
The minister also directed the Government Medical College and Hospital to increase the number of Covid beds from 600 to 1,000. “It has been observed that rich people block beds in private hospitals by getting admitted even when they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Such patients can be treated in home isolation. This has to be ensured strictly by officials and hospitals,” said Tope.
“In Nagpur, proper bed management can add a total of 1,200-1,500 Covid beds,” said Tope.
He also directed officials to ensure the 80:20 covid-non-Covid formula for designated private Covid hospitals. Tope ordered strict action against hospitals insisting on taking advance payment from Covid-19 patients. “It’s illegal. Designated officials must put a check on this practice,” said the minister.
“The Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Yojana offers cashless facility for 25 per cent beds. There are 20 cashless offer packages and designated hospitals must strictly observe the guidelines. Defaulting hospitals must be fined five times the amount involved in the treatment,” he added.
The minister also said that the rate of plasma has been capped, at Rs 5,500 for 200 ml.
Tope said the case fatality rate in Nagpur district was 2.6 per cent. “It should be less than that… but officials told me that 50-60 per cent of the deaths have occurred within two to three days of hospitalisation. Awareness should be raised about immediate hospitalisation,” he said.
On availability of oxygen cylinders, he said there was no crunch. “It is being sold at some places at higher rates. We are probing that… the price has been capped. But the Centre is thinking if the price can be increased… if they do that, we will also do so accordingly.”
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