The second wave has created commotion all around the world and, while India makes a new record each day, the situation is becoming more unpredictable and baffling for our frontline workers who are unable to handle the pressure of such huge numbers.
The scarcity of basic resources like beds, oxygen cylinders, remdesivir, hoarding and black marketing of medicines and injections, and skyrocketing prices of the same, has exposed the failure of our government in tackling the situation. The entire healthcare system has gone for a toss and the current rate at which things are going suggests that it’s about to get worse.
At present, one of the most trending discussion points is the availability of vaccines and the cost being charged for it from the common man. COVISHIELD by Serum Institute of India and COVAXIN by Bharat Biotech are both available at just 150 rs for the central government. For the state government, SII just slashed the prices to 300 Rs from 400 rupees proposed earlier. At the same time, COVAXIN is available at 600 Rs to the state government.
Covishield has overall efficacy of 70 percent, but it can be over 90 percent when administered as a half dose followed by a total dose a month later.
Covaxin has shown the efficacy of 78 percent in the second interim analysis and 100 percent efficacy against ‘severe Covid-19 disease.
Our government has not taken enough efforts to keep the interests of the common man their topmost priority and controlling prices of drugs like Remdesivir which are costing around 4-5 thousand that too not for the whole treatment course but it’s just a single-dose price. Often it is prescribed for atleast six doses, and more doses are required for severe infections. One of the most expensive drugs available to treat severe COVID patients to control the cytokine storm is Tocilizumab. The cost of a single vial ranges from Rs 40,000-50,000. However, black marketeers offer a single vial for as much as Rs 2 lakh — nearly four-five times the actual price.
Recently after government intervention, prices were slashed, but it still costs atleast 800 Rs per dose. Another drug in the market Fabiflu costs around 1200 for 34 Tab strips. While there is no logical explanation for the hike in price, it surely exposes the profit-making agenda of the government over humanity at such helpless and unfortunate times.
Poonwala expressed his anguish over the issue of pressure regarding vaccines and said, “Everything Falls On My Shoulders, Can’t Do It Alone.”
Seeing the horrors that the second wave has left us with, we are bound to question the government today on controlling the prices of lifesaving vaccines and medicines that have shown so much efficacy to prevent the disease itself or the severity of infections. The total cost of prevention is just 1200 Rs and even if we get one vaccine shot at 600 Rs the total cost is even too small compared to the treatment cost for the infection. The government shouldn’t have kept the profits in mind as far as the pandemic was concerning knowing how difficult it can be for the common man to cover such hefty costs. Even now, there are so many differences in the price of Remdesivir ranging from 899 to 3490 Rs. The lowest costing Remdesivir is sold by Zydus Cadila
The only explanation for controlling the prices of vaccines is a complete failure of our healthcare system, which is often neglected in the budget for the last 70 years. The Government has failed to contain the virus and not having strict norms about it, and made it worse by holding election rallies and Kumbh Mela making them a source of “superspreaders”. The administration failed miserably this time as they were too occupied in just enjoying the success of how well they tackled the first wave of COVID and were unaware of a tsunami coming.
The people of India are losing all hope against the battle of covid-19 and have lost more than the government could compensate for by their promises of a better tomorrow. The best interests of people have been ignored and economic interests have been given utmost importance for too long and the endless number of the burning pyre is solid proof of it.