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Tetanus drug shortage

If you run a risk of tetanus, rush out of Hazaribagh for an urgent injection.

The district has been hit by an acute shortage of Tetvac — a medicine that provides immunity against tetanus — since mid-August with patients scouring stores for the precious drug in vain. Retailers too are running to wholesalers in search of the medicine, which is highly in demand.

Sonu Kumar, a 21-year-old college student who suffered injuries in a road accident on Sunday, had to return empty-handed to sadar hospital after he was told to get Tetvac from medicine stores. “The hospital finally provided me with the medicine after I requested the employees. The search for the medicine was more painful for me than my wounds,” he said.

Employees of the hospital admitted they had a stock of Tetvac that they were giving to patients in case of urgencies.

However, Savita Kumari, who is pregnant, wasn’t lucky.

The resident of Padma village, who is being treated by a private doctor, said retailers told her that Tetvac was not available anywhere in Hazaribagh and advised her not to waste time searching for it. She was asked to visit the stores after a few days when they are likely to get fresh supply.

Three doses of Tetvac injections are a must for pregnant women. Tetvac is also vital for patients undergoing surgery.

Drug inspector B.L. Das said the district received the drug from two manufacturers of Tetvac, Dano Vaccines & Biologicals Private Limited and Biological Evans Limited, both based in Andhra Pradesh.

Das said production of Dano Vaccines had been hit by labour issues. This, he said, put pressure on the other firm. Denying widespread scarcity of the medicine in Hazaribagh, he added: “Things will improve as the stalemate has ended in Dano Vaccines.”

Secretary of Druggist and Chemist Association, Hazaribagh, Laxmi Gupta, said they were in touch with the companies and the situation would improve in a couple of days.

A health department official, however, alleged that the shortage was artificial and had been created to encourage black marketeers. He said, “Shortage of Tetvac has not been reported in any other district except Hazaribagh, which indicates foul play.”

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