Bengaluru’s pharmacies devoid of Hydroxychloroquine medicine

COVID-19 Health

Pharmacies and hospitals across Bengaluru have run out of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) medicine—widely used for treating COVID-19 patients currently.

Shivani Mishra | April 15, 2020| Bangalore

People are not able to buy HCQ tablets as pharmacies and hospitals have run out of the medicine, after India recently removed a ban from its export. 

Mohammed Abraz, a customer, said, “I have been trying to procure the medicine since the beginning of March but haven’t found a single pharmacy which has the stock. This medicine is used for treating Rheumatoid arthritis—my mother suffers from it. I have checked online as well, but in vain.”

“I had bought the medicine a couple of days before the lockdown, but a sudden exhaustion of the stock is quite surprising to me,” added Abraz.

Dr.  Ramesh Joice, a doctor at Vikram hospital in Bengaluru had prescribed HCQ for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

 HCQ is used to prevent and cure malaria. It is also used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tard. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets have the potential to help fight against coronavirus. The first large case study of HCQ for coronavirus patients showed a 99.3 per cent success rate.

Earlier this month, Donald Trump had warned India of retaliation if HCQ was not exported to the U.S. Post which India supplied 14 million tablets of HCQ medicine to 13 countries, several news reports stated.  

Soon after, the drug was unavailable to BMC doctors in Mumbai.  

Laxmi, a pharmacist at the Bowring and Lady Curzon hospital, said, “We have no stock of the medicine at the hospital now. I have no idea when the supplies will come.”

 A source who works at the Vikram multi-specialty hospital, and wished to remain anonymous, said, “We have run out of stock, and have no idea when the supplies will resume. We had it in the past but now it’s completely exhausted.”

Private as well as the government hospitals are left with no supply of Hydroxychloroquine medicine in the city. However, the non-availability of HCQ in COVID-19 hospitals is not yet confirmed. 

The narrative contradicts the statement given by Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of the Health Ministry, who said: “The decision to export the drug was taken after ensuring there is enough HCQ left for domestic use. India has enough HCQ tablets to last an entire month.”But no official confirmation has been made yet if Bengaluru is suffering from lack of HCQ medicines by the city’s health department or health ministry.

Picture Courtesy- AP


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