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In East Delhi’s Dilshad Garden, where GTB Hospital is located, pharmacies complain of medicine shortage, not just Remdesivir or Tocilizumab, but common multivitamins like Zinc and Vitamin C. Azithromycin, other antibiotics for cough and cold are also scarce, I was told, on Monday, 3 May, Delhi recorded 18,043 new coronavirus cases amid an ongoing countrywide second wave. Neither do states have any hospital beds, nor do they have oxygen. In such a situation, should states not make medicines accessible to all? Is panic buying causing this shortage? I set out to a market in GTB Enclave and asked pharmacy owners their view.
While most refused to talk on record, the consensus was that there is high demand of multivitamins and a shortage of antibiotics.
While the former can be a consequence of hoarding, the latter is dispensed only as per medical prescription — it could hence be due to high number of positive cases.
“Common medicines like multivitamin Zincovit, that is known by most people, is not available in the market. So is Vitamin C. If at all, those manufactured by local companies are available, patent ones are not. The medication used in nebulisers are also not available.”Bunty, Owner, Local Chemist
Mr Bunty further said that nebulisers and steam inhalers/vaporisers are in short stock as well. When asked for 10 strips of a particular medicine, chemists only receive one or two, he further added. Abhishek Tyagi, whose shop is next door, concurred.
“Vitamin C, Zinc, multivitamins — it seems as if there is panic buying for these medicines because they are also used otherwise, so people (think they) should have some stocked. But yes, the sale of some specific items is more nowadays.”
When asked about antibiotics like Amoxycillin, Azithromycin, Dolo 650, he said,
“These are prescribed drugs, we sell only on medical prescription. So, according to the prescription, it is usually dispensed for up to five days. The number of patients have increased, that is why there is increased sale. When it comes to antibiotics, it would be wrong to say that there is panic buying.”
In most local pharmacies, the situation is the same. Demand for Remdesivir or Fabiflu has increased exponentially.
Common medications are barely available due to panic-buying or purchase in the black market. The government needs to be questioned for this.
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