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Swine flu key drugs in short supply
Published on 17 Oct. 2009 11:14 PM IST
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Government-run Sassoon Hospital here, which is playing a pivotal role in the management of swine flu patients in the worst-hit Pune and Western Maharashtra, is facing shortage of drugs needed for supporting those on ventilator. While stocks of tamiflu prescribed for H1N1 virus are adequate to treat the pandemic, certain antibiotics and other anti-virals given to critical patients suffering from acute respiratory distress are in short supply, according to official sources. The viral disease has so far claimed 80 lives in the city, the highest in the country. Hospital authorities for the last one week have been asking the patient’s relatives to buy certain drugs from outside to tide over the situation. Confirming the shortage, Dr Arun Jamkar, Dean of the hospital, the biggest referral centre for Western Maharashtra, told PTI that the problem had arisen due to the technical ceiling on local purchase of individual drugs. The authorities had already floated tenders for 5 to 6 selective drugs that had been used on a larger scale since the outbreak of the viral infection around three months back, he said. Dr Jamkar said since the hospital was bearing the entire cost of management of an increasing number of swine flu patients, it was fair on its part to ask the patients to foot bills of these expensive drugs purchased from outside, reported ZeeNews. “A patient on ventilator incurs an expenditure of around Rs 10,000 per day which is borne by the hospital.” He clarified that the practice would be discontinued when the drug purchase was normalised. Meanwhile, the hospital authorities had put up their demands and given an update to the Directorate of Medical Education on the drug stocks required to manage H1N1 emergencies, initiating process of procurement through floating of tenders. Many charitable trusts and institutions, too, have risen to the occasion by donating the listed drugs to the hospital, which treats and admits precarious swine flu cases referred by various private hospitals in the city. In a latest interaction with the US-based John Hopkins University through video-conferencing, the Sassoon Hospital authorities exchanged views and information with experts there on the management of swine flu cases in Pune, Dr Jamkar said. The varsity has a collaborative project with the hospital. “There is a lot of curiosity among the US experts about how we handle the H1N1 pandemic here and they were appreciative of our efforts,” the dean claimed. One more video conference would be organised on October 21 with greater participation from the experts from both sides, Dr Jamkar said. He declined to speculate on the progress of the pandemic in Pune, saying there was no room for any kind of complacency and the possibility of phase two of the global pandemic was a matter of concern for all.

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