The Centre has decided to ramp up supply of Amphotericin B in some states as healthcare workers now fight another threat -- mucormycosis or black fungus. The increase in supply comes as some states are demanding the drug as it has been actively prescribed by physicians to treat the post-COVID complication.
The government said that it is engaging with manufacturers to ramp up production of the drug. Supply of Amphotericin B will be improved through an increase in production and extra imports.
"After reviewing the stock position with the manufacturers/importers, and the demand pattern of Amphotericin B the Department of Pharma, has on 11th May, 2021, allocated this drug amongst the States/UTs based on expected supply that will be available from May 10 to May 31, 2021. States have been requested to put in place a mechanism for equitable distribution of supplies amongst Government and Private hospitals and health care agencies," said the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers.
States have also been asked to publicise the 'point of contact' in the state for private and government hospitals to obtain the drug from the allocated amount. They have also been asked by the Centre to make judicious use of the stock that has been supplied.
The National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) will monitor the arrangements for supply.
"The country is going through a severe wave of pandemic and it has affected various parts of the country. The Government of India is continuously working to augment the supply of essential COVID-19 medicines and making them available to the state governments and UTs through an equitable and transparent manner," said the ministry.
WHAT IS MUCORMYCOSIS
"Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that mainly affects people who are on medication for other health problems that reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens," stated a release by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Union Health Ministry. "Mucormycosis - if uncared for - may turn fatal," it added.
Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression by steroids, prolonged ICU stay, malignancy and voriconazole therapy may lead to the infection, the advisory said
COVID-19 patients with diabetes and immuno-suppressed individuals, must suspect mucormycosis if there is sinusitis, one-side facial pain, numbness, swelling, blackish discoloration over the bridge of the nose or palate, toothache, loosening of teeth, blurred or double vision with pain, skin lesion, thrombosis and necrosis, chest pain and worsening respiratory symptoms.