“Take Immediate Action”: Sonia Gandhi To Modi On Black Fungus Medicine Shortage
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi writes a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi cited the acute shortage of vital drug – Amphotericin-B – needed to treat Mucormycosis, dubbed Black Fungus, and underscored the need to “take immediate action” to remedy the situation.
Numerous count of coronavirus patients in the country have contracted Mucormycosis, a deadly and aggressive fungal infection, compounding the country’s troubles as it reels from the pandemic.
PM Modi, in a virtual address to health workers from Varanasi yesterday, warned against what he called the “new challenge of Black Fungus”. He further described the virus as an unseen and shifting enemy.
“I would request you [PM Modi] to kindly take immediate action on this matter to bring relief to the large number of patients being afflicted by Mucormycosis,” Ms Gandhi said in the letter.
The government, Ms Gandhi said, has asked states to announces Mucormycosis an epidemic under the Epidemic Diseases Act. This means all confirmed or suspected cases of black fungus, a condition seen in recovering Covid patients, have to be reported to the Health Ministry.
Ms Gandhi said it would mean that there must be adequate production and assured supply of essential medicines to treat it, and cost-free patient care for those in need of treatment.
“In recent times a new challenge in the form of a fungal infection namely mucormycosis has emerged and is reported from many states among COVID-19 patients especially those on steroid therapy and deranged sugar control,” Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said in a letter to states on Friday.
The Union Health Ministry on Friday said licence has been given to five more manufactures for production of Amphotericin-B and they will start producing 1,11,000 vials of the drug per month from July.
The five companies are: NATCO Pharmaceuticals, Hyderabad; Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Vadodara; Gufic Biosciences Ltd, Gujarat; Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Pune; and Lyka in Gujarat.
Efforts are being made to supplement the domestic availability of the anti-fungal drug through import, the Ministry said.