Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Black Fungus declared epidemic in some states; Delhi HC inquires about drug supply

With the surge in COVID cases, the country is also witnessing an escalation in the cases of Mucormycosis, commonly known as ‘Black Fungus’, an invasive fungal infection in Covid-19 patients. Recently, it has added another element of concern with the shortage of supply of Amphotericin-B, the liposomal drug used in battling the fungal infection. Several states in the country are witnessing a surge in the cases of black fungus or mucormycosis. some states have declared it an epidemic while some states are facing shortages of medical aid for treating the patients of black fungus.

The pharmacies are citing unavailability; the Delhi Government is regulating the supply of the drug to avoid hoarding and black marketing of the medication. The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought inputs from the government on the distribution, stock, and supplies of the life-saving drug. The submission made by Advocate Rakesh Malhotra regarding the matter of short supply of Amphotericin-B highlighted the issue and resulted in the developments witnessed in the court on Wednesday.

Advocate Mehra apprised the court that the Central Government was regulating the supply of the liposomal drug and that they (Delhi Government) were getting it in a rationed way. Dr Manjari Tripathi, Neurologist AIIMS said to NewsX, “Indian is the only country where medication can be taken over the counter, where ever anyone wants it and however they wants it.”

The Amphotericin-B drug is an Indian manufactured drug with various manufacturers, including Cipla. In light of this, Justice Jasmeet Singh said, “How can there be a shortage in supply suddenly when the drug is being locally manufactured? You have to identify what the bottleneck is.” The court further observed that there should not be any case of an artificial shortage being fabricated. “This is something that is coming up, we are reading it in papers, and we must address it. This time it will not be the case that we will be caught unawares,” the court added. Taking the aforementioned submissions into account, the court adjourned till further hearing on May 20.

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