Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Pharma cos behind dropping plasma therapy for Covid: Experts – ET HealthWorld

Nagpur: Convalescent plasma therapy, which was very popular among doctors across the country and used on many Covid-19 patients to date, was removed from the Covid management guidelines of AIIMS-Delhi and ICMR, the premier research body of our country, earlier this week.

Now, a group of transfusion medicine professionals and researchers has written to the principal scientific advisor of the government to reinstate the convalescent plasma therapy in the clinical management of the virus. For the first time, the group has openly blamed the influence of pharma companies for the government bringing in this recommendation of removing the therapy from Covid management guidelines.

“Safety of convalescent plasma is proven for centuries as it has been used earlier in other diseases. It is a cheap and safe alternative to patients having liver or kidney failure and immuno-compromised disability, where other popular drugs like Remdesivir/Tociluzumab is contraindicated for their toxicity. It is an irony that an orphan drug is always an orphan as it doesn’t get any support from the pharmaceutical giants,” reads the letter signed by 16 doctors from across the country in the capacity as Plasma Expert Group.

The letter further shares details of at least eight recent international as well as the Indian peer-reviewed publications of randomized control trials (RCT) which have shown plasma to be effective for reducing mortality, morbidity as well as minimising the cytokine deluge, if it is applied at the appropriate time.

Dr. Harish Warbhe from Nagpur, one of the members of this group, said that despite the ICMR recommendation, doctors are using plasma. “The ICMR move does not stop clinicians from rational use of plasma for saving the lives of their Covid-19 patients on ‘emergency use authorisation’ basis. Many clinicians continue to use it for their Covid patients,” he said, adding that he is still getting demand for plasma from all corners of the state.

According to Dr Warbhe, the way ICMR’s move was highlighted in the media has created confusion among doctors and people. “No one can be denied of survival benefits of plasma therapy. All treatment options must be available to the patient, be it Remdesivir or plasma. There must be strict rules to avoid irrational and indiscriminate use,” he added.


Plasma is dropped from Covid Management Guidelines of AIIMS-Delhi and ICMR

This does not stop clinicians from rational use of Plasma on Covid-19 patients on an emergency use authorisation basis

Many clinicians still continue to use plasma for their Covid patients

Irrational and indiscriminate use of plasma must be stopped

Same must be applicable to drugs like Remdesivir, Ivermectin, Flavipiravir, Steroids, Tocilizumab, etc.

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