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COVID crisis: Remdesivir shortage hits Kashmir hospitals; drug disappears from market too

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Srinagar: It has been almost two days that Arzaan Ahmad’s father has been put on oxygen support after testing positive for COVID 19. Doctors at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences has prescribed Remdesivir to control the infection.

Arzaan is, however, struggling to find the drug since its shortage is being deeply felt in the valley’s hospitals and pharmacies. “I have been looking for this vial for two days but can’t find it anywhere.  From hospitals to big chemist shops, this drug is not available,” he said.


Not just Arzaan but scores of the attendants, whose family members are admitted to premiere institute can’t find this drug anywhere in the market despite government claims about its availability in the hospitals.

The majority of the hospitals in Kashmir are experiencing shortage of Remdesvir, even as the cases and severity of COVID-19 are increasing by the day.

A source said that the stocks of Remdesivir at SKIMS Soura have exhausted. “We have the majority of the patients who are on oxygen support either in the wards or Intensive care Unit. Remdesivir has exhausted. We are hoping to receive fresh stock soon,” he said.

At SMHS, one of the premier hospitals which treats COVID-19 patients, the scarcity of this drug is also being felt by the medicos.  The attendants, who have their family members admitted to the hospital run from pillar to post in search of Remdesivir but to no avail.

“Remdesivir is out of stock both at government as well as private level. There is a huge crisis and the administration is failing to procure it despite witnessing a huge surge in COVID-19 cases,” said an attendant at SMHS hospital.

Medical Superintendent, Nazir Hussain Chaudhary said the hospital currently has no stocks of Remdesivir available. “Remdesivir is not currently available in the hospital.  The government has communicated that the drug will be made available. We are expecting to receive the supply soon,” he said.

Reports suggest the dearth of Remdesivir is also being felt at the district hospitals.

Dr. Yaspal Sharma, Managing Director, Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation, said the union territory has adequate stocks of Remdesivir available.

 “Shortage is being felt across the country but we have this drug available. One thousand vials for the Jammu division and one thousand for Kashmir division are in transit. We will be getting 10,000 vials by the end of May as per the quota by the Centre for each state,” he said.