Kashmir is facing shortage of lifesaving drugs due to the continuous lockdown after COVID-19 outbreak, putting the lives of patients at risk.
A group of drug distributors in Srinagar Sunday told Rising Kashmir that lifesaving drugs were not available and the supply had been badly affected during the past two weeks.
Tariq Ahmad Shah, who is a distributor of nearly two dozen pharma companies in Srinagar, said a number of important drugs including targeted chemotherapies were not available in Kashmir.
The lifesaving drugs like Trastuzumab, Pertuzumab, Capecitabine, Bevacizumab, Pazopanib, Eltrombopag, Nilotinib, Octreotide Acetate, Ribociclib, Ceritinib, Eribulin Mesylate, Fulvestant, Osimertinib, Cetuximab, Daratumuman and Afatinib Dimaleate are not available in Srinagar.
“These drugs are proprietary ones and thus their substitutes aren't available. Maintenance of complete cold chain of such drugs is mandatory and thus these are necessary to be airlifted from New Delhi airport,” he said.
The distributors have been appealing the government to airlift the medicines and alleged that “nothing has been done so far”.
Shah said the next dose of chemotherapy of many patients was and they had been persistently pursuing it.
“Any delay in the scheduled dose may adversely affect the patients and the disease may relapse,” he said.
The continuous lockdown after coronavirus outbreak has also affected the supply of sanitizers and other important drugs.
Shah said the distributors were already in touch with their companies for the procurement of life-saving drugs and had placed orders for chemotherapies but no arrangements had been made to airlift these.
“There are also reports that two distributors of the Valley have been able to get a few boxes of drugs transported from Delhi but there are no arrangements for airlifting the major life-saving drugs,” he said.
Shah accused the J&K Drug and Food Control Organisation of misleading the government by giving false information about the stock of life-saving drugs.
Aijaz Ahmad, a dealer who runs K S Enterprises in Srinagar, said on March 9, he booked hand sanitizers that were scheduled to be received on March 16,
but he had not received them so far.
Aijaz said, four days ago, he had orders some lifesaving medicines from Jammu but had also not received those too.
“Augmetin 625 mg used to treat bacterial infections, which is in demand, and there are some other medicines too but the order is stuck in transit in south Kashmir as authorities are not allowing the movement of vehicles due to lockdown,” he said. “There should be a mechanism to transport the cold chain products that can't be brought by road. The government must facilitate the supply.”
The distributors appealed the government to arrange airlifting of the lifesaving medicines and mechanism to deal with the crisis and save the lives of patients.
However, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, P K Pole told Rising Kashmir that the distributors should place their orders to their suppliers.
“We will give vehicle passes for faster movement,” he said.
About airlifting of the cold-chain drugs, Pole said, “They can be brought by refer vans.”