Confusion prevails as Remdesivir distribution stops outside Chennai’s Nehru Stadium

On Sunday, the Tamil Nadu government revised the protocol for the supply of Remdesivir which will come into effect from May 18

Confusion prevailed outside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Periamet on Sunday night after those waiting for the Remdesivir medicine since Saturday evening, were asked to leave following the State government’s decision to revise the protocol for purchase of the drug.

They sat outside the stadium requesting the government to provide them medicines and save lives and many of them broke down.

Hundreds of people, all attenders and relatives of COVID-19 patients from different parts of the State, have been waiting outside the stadium since Saturday night and some from early on Sunday. However on Sunday, the Tamil Nadu government revised the protocol for the supply of Remdesivir which will come into effect from May 18.

It directed hospitals treating patients with the medicine to procure it by sending their own representatives and doing away with the current system of patients’ relatives queuing up at designated sites to get the drug.

The government will set up a dedicated website for the purpose where hospitals treating patients on oxygen support with the drug will have to upload the patient’s details and the required quantity of Remdesivir. Once the request is reviewed and the medicine allocation is made, the hospital will have to send their own representative to collect it from a designated collection centre. The government will announce details of the website separately.

“But this was sudden. I have been waiting in line since May 12 as three people in my house have tested positive. I waited the entire day on Saturday, but could not get it despite providing details. The police asked us to come on Monday morning and get the medicine. So I came on Sunday morning and started waiting in the queue,” explained V. Balamurugan of Mylapore.

He said that the police took all the details from him and others waiting in the queue, including Aadhaar card number, and everyone thought they would get the medicines either today or on Monday morning. “My father, brother and sister-in-law are positive. I was very hopeful to get Remdesivir. Around 11.30 p.m on Sunday, a police officer told us to leave the spot,” said Mr. Balamurugan.

Vetrivel, who has been waiting to get Remdesivir to send to his uncle admitted in Tiruvannamalai, said that the police asked everyone to register in the website to be started by the government and get the medicine. “By then it will be very late. Many started crying here as their relatives’ lives were at risk,” he said.

Policemen were sent to the spot to prevent stampedes, claim officers. They reportedly informed the people about the new system and that the distribution has been stopped in the Nehru stadium. “But the government should provide the drug to those who have registered earlier,” added Mr. Balamurugan.


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