Huge quantities of malaria and diptheria antidotes are lying unused at the state-run Infectious Disease (ID) hospital at Beliaghata for months at a time when malaria and dengue are on the rise in the city and outskirts amidst the pandemic.
On 27 September, Dr Anima Halder, principal of ID Hospital, wrote to the deputy director of health services (DDHS) in charge of Central Medical Store (CMS) requesting the latter to take back the unused drugs so that other government hospitals can use them for patients.
Sources at the ID Hospital said that 180 vials of the anti-diptheria injections (IP10000 I.U) and 3,500 Chloroquin phosphate 250 mg tablets are lying unutilized at the hospital store at Beliaghata. These drugs will expire
by 31 December this year. Chloroquin phosphate 250 mg is used to fight malaria but can also be prescribed for patients with viral infections.
During the first wave of the pandemic in Bengal, the state health department had supplied the anti-malaria tablets for treatment of Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms at the ID Hospital. But the medicine is being recommended by doctors nowadays for Covid-19 treatment.
“During the first outbreak of coronavirus we used to give the medicine to Covid patients with mild or moderate category infections. But the updated Covid treatment guidelines prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) do not recommend the use of Chloroquin phosphate 250 mg tablets for coronavirus cases. That is why these tablets are lying unutilized in our hospital,” Dr Halder said.
“I have written to the DDHS in charge of CMS to take back these medicines. For anti-diphtheria injections, we do not require the vials now because the state government has made our hospital a Covid care centre. Around 300 beds in our hospitals are being used for Covid patients,” she added.