Drug regulator asks traders to stock 55 ICU drugs for Covid-19 treatment

The list of these 55 drugs has been forwarded by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
The drug regulatory authority has directed pharmaceutical traders and retailers to stock sufficient quantities of 55 formulations required in the intensive care units (ICU) of the hospitals treating Covid-19 patients. The traders' body has said it has urged all its state affiliates to hold three months' inventory of these drugs.

The list of these 55 drugs has been forwarded by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). It was prepared by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), the technical wing of the Health Ministry. In addition, the DGHS has also provided a general list containing essential drugs projected to be required during the three-month period following the lockdown. 

This is apart from the requirement to stock hydroxychloroquine (200 mg) and Azithromycin (500 mg) tablets for patients requiring ICU management, asymptomatic healthcare workers and asymptomatic household contacts of positive cases. 

All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), the largest pharmaceutical traders' body in the country, which claims to have around 850,000 retailers in its fold, has urged its members to keep the stock these medicines as per the requirement.

"We have the stock with us and getting sufficient supply from the companies also," said Rajiv Singhal, general secretary of AIOCD regarding the availability of the medicine for stocking.

The government is taking steps to monitor stockpiling of drugs and sanitisers, and is tightening procedures to monitor for any possible shortages of the drugs caused by disruption to global supplies. It is also maintaining checks on the availability of drugs for use in the treatment of Covid-19, and developing a pandemic communication strategy with dealers, distributors and pharmacies to help deterimite available quantities of medical supplies used in slowing the spread of the virus. Besides, steps are being taken to ensure medicines are available at affordable rates and retailers continue to adhere to normal ordering patterns and avoid stockpiling.

The drug categories required to be stocked for ICU management include emergency cardiac drugs, sedatives, muscle relaxants, antibiotics and antimicrobial agents, nebulisation drugs, IV fluids, and anti-epileptic formulations. The other drugs the government asked the traders to stock include pain killers, antibacterial agents, anti fungal drugs, antiviral drugs and Cardiovascular drugs.

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