BJP MP Gautam Gambhir’s announcement of free distribution of ‘Fabiflu’ antivirals in his East Delhi parliamentary constituency amid an acute shortage of Covid medicines has drawn harsh criticism from Congress and the AAP ruling. Leaders from both parties have accused the cricketer-created politician of “hoarding”, questioning his decision not to transfer the doses to supply-hungry hospitals.
“This is the reason why Remdisivir, Fabiflu and other critical medicines are out of the market. BJP leaders are hoarding these medicines. We have seen this in Gujarat too. Such leaders must be ordered,” tweeted AAP leader Rajesh Sharma.
This is the reason why Remdisivir, fabiflu and other critical medicines are out of the market. BJP leaders hoard these medicines. We have seen this in Gujarat as well. Such leads must be ordered. https://t.co/aNnCmz7PqH
– Rajesh Sharma ।ৰাজেশ শৰ্মা ।રાજેશ શર્મા 🇮🇳 (@beingAAPian) April 21, 2021
His party colleague Somnath Bharti called Ms Gambhir’s announcement “criminal”.
“Isn’t this criminal? MP hoarding medicines and giving them according to his wishes. Why shouldn’t he put them into hospital?” he tweeted.
– Adv. Somnath Bharti (@attorneybharti) April 21, 2021
Congress leader Pawan Khera asked if distribution of the drug was legal.
1) How much Fabiflu do you have in your possession?
2) How did you acquire so much Fabiflu? @GautamGambhir
CC @ArvindKejriwal :
1) Is this legal?
2) Is the Fabiflu shortage in chemist shops due to such unauthorized acquisition / distribution? https://t.co/ZfKnLINB2J
– Pawan Khera (@Pawankhera) April 21, 2021
Mr Gambhir said today that those who want the medicine would have to show their Aadhaar cards and medical prescriptions.
“The people of East Delhi can get ‘Fabiflu’ from the office of MP (2, Jagriti Enclave) FREE 10-5. Get Aadhar and prescription kindly,” he tweeted.
Delhi has been reporting record daily coronavirus numbers for the past few days. On Tuesday, the worst-hit city logged over 28,000 cases in its largest one-day spike since the pandemic began last year.
The huge pile of active caseload has brought the city’s health infrastructure on the brink of collapse. A critical shortage of hospital beds, medicines and life-saving oxygen has been reported in Delhi.
The drug, which is used to treat mild to moderate Covid infections by some doctors, is rare in the national capital.
Another antiviral drug Remdesivir is in high demand. The center explained earlier this week that it was not a lifesaving drug. He said Remdesivir was an “experimental investigational drug” that was granted emergency authorization to be used only on moderately ill Covid patients on oxygen assistance under hospital settings.
Although Remdesivir is part of the centre’s prescribed treatment protocol for COVID-19, Fabiflu is not. On Monday, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, who is also a member of the national coronavirus task force, warned against overuse of drugs like Fabiflu.
Delhi also suffers from an acute shortage of medical oxygen. As several hospitals reported having only a few hours of oxygen supply after Covid’s patients, the center today increased Delhi’s oxygen quota to 500 tonnes from 378 tonnes.