When a doctor told a Bengaluru resident that her uncle, who had Mucormycosis, would need 50 doses of Amphotericin B injection, she was taken aback. While the family was able to obtain the medicine in such large quantities, not everyone is so fortunate.
Apart from the fact that Amphotericin B is in high demand due to an increase in Mucormycosis cases, which has caused a shortage, a vial of the drug costs between Rs 6,000 and Rs 8,000. When a patient’s family is asked to arrange for 50 to 100 vials as part of a full course of treatment, the cost ranges from Rs 3- 4 lakh. A life-threatening infection is being reported in huge numbers across the country among COVID-19 patients and those who have recovered from it.
Many people have been perplexed by the required of such a large number of dosages for the treatment of Mucormycosis infection. Injections are normally recommended in much lesser numbers, such as five or ten.
According to a top specialist, fungal infections are hardy microorganisms that require long-term treatment. “These medicine dosage are estimated based on the patient’s body weight. The standard calculation is one milligramme of medicine per kilogramme of a patient’s weight. According to Dr Srinivas Murthy, a senior physician at Life Care Hospitals in Bengaluru, “a patient is recommended two to three dosages every day depending on the severity of the infection and numerous other factors.”
This medicine also comes in a lipid-dominant form called Liposomal Amphotericin. This version is 10 to 15 times more expensive, but it is less nephrotoxic (kidney toxicity), according to Dr Murthy.
While several critically ill patients in Karnataka have been given 50 to 60 doses of Amphotericin B, the situation in Maharashtra is not looking good. With almost 2,200 people getting treatment, the state has the greatest number of mucormycosis cases in the country. Like most other states, the state is experiencing a scarcity of Amphotericin-B. The medicine has been supplied by the federal government to numerous states, but the quantity is insufficient.
The Maharashtra government has issued a global tender to acquire the medicine, with delivery due by June 1.