Bengaluru, June 5: Karnataka needs 75,063 Liposomal Amphotericin B vials for 1,493 patients suffering from mucormycosis ('black fungus'), while Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Sadananda Gowda has allocated only 22,460 vials to the state so far, including 9,750 vials on Friday.
There is a shortfall of 52,603 vials as of June 4.
Notwithstanding this allocation, the actual number of vials received so far by the state is also far less with the last supply of 2,000 vials received on June 1. Additionally, 7,960 vials from Stelis Biopharma (part of Strides Pharma) have reached Bengaluru and are available for distribution in the state. This is not a part of the central allotment of vials.
As of June 4, the state’s private hospitals have raised an indent of 38,788 vials for 956 of its patients, and the government hospitals have sought 36,275 vials for 537 of its patients.
Senior IAS officer Avinash Menon, who is the nodal officer appointed by the state for distributing the vials to the hospitals, refused to divulge the number of vials received by Karnataka, so far, from the Centre. However, the acute shortage was evident in both government and district hospitals, as endless indenting day after day with the state government is not resulting in the supply of this drug.
Dr Susheen Dutt, consultant, ENT, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, said, “We indent 90 vials every day and get 30 once in three days. So far, we have operated upon 98 mucormycosis patients. Many of them did not get the medicine so they went back on an oral drug Posaconazole.
Yesterday (June 3), for eleven of our patients we badly needed 90 vials and there was no response. Today too, there was no response. So now, we’re giving it to most needy patients only and others are given tablets.”
At the state-run Minto Eye Hospital, there are 81 patients under treatment for mucormycosis while 40 patients have already succumbed to the fungal infection. The hospital gets vials every alternate day.
Dr Suhel Hasan, senior consultant, ENT, Narayana Health, said, “We have 15 patients and ideally all of them should be given Liposomal Amphotericin B. But we’re relying on Posaconazole which is not the first choice. It is not a first line drug and only given to discharged patients. Regular Amphotericin is toxic for the kidney so can’t be given in high doses. If we indent 100 vials, we get 20, and we need four vials for one patient every day.”