KARACHI - After UK-led clinical trial showing encouraging results of dexamethasone drug in Covid-19 treatment, the price of the life-saving drug has been increased by 100 percent in the wholesale and retail markets of Karachi. Speaking on the matter, Wholesale Chemist Council of Pakistan President Muhammad Atif Hanif has blamed pharmaceutical companies for the shortage and hike in the price of dexamethasone drug.

He claimed that many pharmaceutical companies have deliberately stopped the supply of life-saving drugs, especially injections and several medicines necessary for treating Covid-19 patients.

“I request the federal government and concerned authorities to look into the situation and take action against the involved pharmaceutical companies,” he said.

President wholesale pharma organisation Zubair Memon also demanded the government to ensure the availability of life-saving drugs for Covid-19 patients in the market. The drug dealers were of the view that they had not increased prices of drugs in the wholesale markets. “The pharmaceutical companies have created an artificial shortage of life-saving drugs like Actemra injections dexamethasone by limiting the supply in the market,” added Zubair Memon.

It is noteworthy that a UK-led clinical trial known as RECOVERY lately showed the steroid saved the lives of one third of the gravest cases.  The results, described as a “major breakthrough” by scientists who led the trial, suggest the drug should immediately become standard care in patients treated in hospital with the pandemic disease, the researchers said. Earlier on Wednesday, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza said a committee of health experts will consider the use of the generic steroid drug dexamethasone to treat serious COVID-19 patients in the country.

In a Twitter statement, he said: “Positive results from UK on use of Dexamethaone in critical patients welcomed by WHO as a 1st treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring Oxygen or ventilator support. Expert Committee in [Pakistan] to consider inclusion.”