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Indian-American owned pharma firm donates 3.4 M hydroxychloroquine tablets to key US states

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Washington: An Indian American-owned pharma firm has pledged to donate 3.4 million Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate tablets to some of the key COVID-19 battleground states, including New York and Louisiana, joining the war against the dreaded coronavirus which by Tuesday had taken lives of more than 12,800 people in the US alone.

Owned by philanthropic billionaire Chirag and Chintu Patel, New Jersey-based Amneal Pharmaceuticals, which is one of the largest US-based manufacturers, has also announced ramping up production of Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate at several of its manufacturing sites and expects to produce approximately 20 million tablets between now and mid-April.

Those tablets will be made available nationwide through Amneal’s existing retail and wholesale customers, as well as through direct sales to larger institutions in need, the company said.

Amneal has donated two million tablets of 200mg Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate to New York, and one million to Texas to be used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. It is ready to provide more as needed. It is also donating and providing products directly to hospitals across the country, the company said.

Amneal has also announced donation of 400,000 Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate tablets to Louisiana.

All of us at Amneal are committed to supporting our communities in the global fight against COVID-19,” said Chirag and Chintu Patel, Co-Chief Executive Officers of Amneal.

“We are working with urgency to assist the hardest hit states and hospitals around the country to benefit as many patients as possible during this critical time,” they said in a joint statement, issued by the Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

“It is important we all work together to help solve the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. We must come together as Louisianans and as Americans. This donation from Amneal demonstrates their strong effort to be a good corporate citizen in our nation,” Landry said.

Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate was first synthesized in 1946 and is in a class of medications historically used to treat and prevent malaria.

According to Louisiana State Government, Amneal’s Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate tablets are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, childhood arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.

Hydroxychloroquine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of COVID-19; but it has been identified as a possible treatment for it, and the US government has requested its immediate availability.

This is a crucial time in the global fight against COVID-19, Chirag and Chintu Patel said in a company press release.

With an existing supply of Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate and our ability to quickly accelerate production, we are humbled to be able to assist the hardest hit states and hospitals around the country to benefit as many patients as possible, the two brothers said.

Landry said that Amneal’s donation is one step toward trying to find treatments and cures for this epidemic.

Right now, there are no silver bullets. We must remain vigilant against the spread of this virus,” he said.

The Louisiana State University School of Medicine is working to launch two different clinical trials using hydroxychloroquine in relation to COVID-19.

One trial will utilize Hydroxychloroquine on those who have significant COVID-19 disease. The other trial protocol will use and test the drug as a preventative measure for those healthcare workers on the front lines battling the epidemic.

Trials will be conducted at the University Medical Center in New Orleans and at the LSU Medical School locations in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, a media release said.


Also read: Aap chronology samajhiye: Did Modi buckle under Trump’s pressure on HCQ for COVID-19?


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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