BENGALURU: Stock of three key drugs used to treat Covid-19 in the state’s warehouses are enough to last another month and is only a fraction of the Centre’s recommended quantities, data shows. The state government has now issued a purchase order for procurement of antiviral drug Tocilizumab, steroid Dexamethasone and antifungal Posaconazole.
To tackle the third wave, the Centre had instructed states to ensure a buffer stock of the eight essential drugs required to treat Covid-19, and, based on consumption during the second wave, had also specified the quantity needed.
The eight drugs are anticoagulant heparin, steroid Methylprednisolone, Dexamethasone (injection), antiviral Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, antifungal Amphotericin B (injection), Posaconazole (injection), and intravenous Immunoglobulin (injection).
While Karnataka has stock of the other drugs in prescribed quantities, it is short on buffer stock of Tocilizumab, Dexamethasone and Posaconazole. Currently, the quantity of Tocilizumab in stock is just 10. 8% of what the Centre has recommended, Ddexamethasone 3%, and Posaconazole 12.6%.
While speaking on preparations for the third wave on Thursday, health minister K Sudhakar had said there were issues regarding supply of Dexamethasone and Posaconazole.
“Stock of dexamethasone is low compared to the Centre’s directive on buffer stock,” he said. “We are buying over 10 lakh more doses. posaconazole injection is unavailable in the market, although we are trying to procure more."
On tocilizumab, the minister said expert’s in the state opined that it was not required in huge quantities and so the state has stocked only 699 doses.
However, KS Latha Kumari, IAS, managing director, Karnataka State Medical Supplies Corporation Ltd (KSMSCL), insisted there is no shortage of drugs. She said the state had enough stock of the three drugs for another month. “A procurement order has already been issued and we expect supply soon,” Latha said, adding that two earlier tenders elic- ited no response but there are enough bidders now.
The state has already issued orders to buy 13. 2 lakh doses of dexamethasone, 4,285 of posaconazole, and 4,901 of tocilizumab. Data with KSMSCL show the state has enough quantities of the other five drugs. The state has 10. 3 lakh doses or 80% of heparin stock suggested by the Centre, 2. 3 lakh doses of methylprednisolone (200% of required buffer stock) and 4. 3 lakh doses of remdesivir (73% of the Centre’s mandate).
It may be recalled that during the second wave, the state had faced an acute shortage of amphotericin B injection which is needed to treat post-Covid complication of mucormycosis. Ahead of the third wave, the state had 33,364 doses of the drug and has also issued a purchase order for an additional 70,911 doses.