Anoo Bhuyan Profile picture
Jul 9, 2020 20 tweets 8 min read Read on X
1.Tocil-iz-umab. A drug being experimentally used for COVID19 treatment globally.

Yet: Joel Pinto drove from Chennai to Hyd to get it for his dad. Rajiv Dhawan got it from Hyd for his uncle in Ahmedabad.

Short supply, high prices, black market.
I report:…
2. Of the 2 drugs being experimentally used for COVID:

Remdesivir, anti-viral
Tocilizumab, anti-inflammatory

T is used either w/ R, or aftr R

But shortage of both means, families blown up lot of $$ & been wrecked by anxiety... by the time docs tell them they need T

*Not cool*
3. Families may already be in quarantine when loved one is in hospital, & docs ask for Tocilizumab.
Families already low on $$.
Families facing anxiety of losing their loved one.

Families @ mercy of black market.
Buying in black means, its not covered by insurance.

*Very bad*
4. Yday on @MirrorNow, Dharmesh Shah, BDR Pharma who's tied up w/ Cipla on remdesivir, said Cipla will ensure distribution is legal, not in black.
Cipla is also distributor for Tocil.

Why was Joel Pinto unable to get from Cipla, bought it on road in Hyd?
5. I asked Roche, who makes tocilizumab, to tell me what price they selling & what is legal way to get it.

Roche refused to disclose price.
Roche said Cipla is legally distributing.

Why & how is there a #leakage into black market then? Who is leaking it?…
6. Why wont pharma companies- Roche, Gilead- disclose the prices & quantities of their drugs- tocilizumab & remdesvir?

Given that there IS a black market, people buying from shady sources @ high prices.... why wont companies tell us their legal price?
7. The end of my piece discusses what can legally be done by GOI to ensure supply + affordability of tocilizumab- there are things that can be done!

@LMenghaney said something which stood out:

*If the gov isnt going to use their powers in a pandemic, then when?!*
8. My credits to @kv_navya at New Indian Express who's report on Joel Pinto was the first one I read & she very kindly helped me on this piece! :)

Reporters who've been continusuly reporting on R & T, pls follow their reports: @rdivia @Teensthack @Rupalijee @PrabhaRaghavan
9. BYTHEWAY, Gov put tocilizumab in its clinical management guidelines on 13 June. And ACKNOWLEDGED, that its in short supply.

Its def gov responsibility to ensure there's supply and affordability!… Image
10. The last Q, also the first is again...

*What can legally be done on supply & affordability?*

Ill be exploring this Q in my next piece, out in few days too.

For this, see what @d_s_thakur says here, & in many of his other writings on drug regulation:…
11. Issue raised few times in today's press con
12. Congrats @ Ahmedabad!
"The agents were selling this drug at ... Rs 75,000 and even went up to Rs 90,000, while its retail price is Rs 40,545.

... A blank prescription was provided by one Ghanshyam Vyas employed ... at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital."…
Roche on their drug Tocilizumab: "shows no benefits in clinical status, mortality"…
AIIMS not very hot on Tocilizumab or Remdesevir in this FAQ (theyre still hot on HCQ)…

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More from @AnooBhu

Oct 30, 2022
It's been a year since #PuneethRajkumar's death and Ill share collected pictures over this year of his immortalization in Bangalore City. 1/n
A number of restos have an "Appu" menu, curated by his family. I sampled the menu 2 weeks back, and keep crossing life size cutouts of Puneeth at other restos.
Here's a write up:…
3/n Back to this lovely sight, much to be said (& many academics have already studied) the god-ification of S Indian actors. Puneeth here, living on at the same stature as gods- the hope he gives people, which is essentially the purpose god is supposed to serve #PuneethRajkumar
Read 8 tweets
May 31, 2021
A spate of young people looking to raise lakhs of rupees to study abroad this year... How to say this in a tweet but: If you raise the money, great, but dont bankrupt yourself in the hope that a foreign degree will set you free. Youll be in this same job market when youre back.
Theres LOTS MORE to say on this but if a tweet is of any use, then this is the tweet.

Yes happy to talk to anyone who wants to talk it out: DM is open.
If you get a scholarship, dont think twice, just go.

But if studying abroad means student loans and debt when youre back, and unless youre in high paying fields (which means, not humanities, social sciences and the arts), you may not pay back that debt fast enough to be free.
Read 4 tweets
May 10, 2021
there's something off about police crack-downs on the "black market."
a black market begins when the state fails.
and patients are now without black market and without the state.
2/ For example: Vigabatrin…
Read 6 tweets
Feb 1, 2021
FM Sitharaman announces Rs 64,180 crore more for health.

This is almost = last year's entire budget for health ministry (Rs 67,112 crore)

So has health budget doubled?


Rs 64,180 crore to be given OVER SIX YEARS.
Read 10 tweets
Aug 6, 2020
dont let perfect be the enemy of good
dont attribute to malice what you can attribute to stupidity
dont take a hammer to kill a fly
Read 4 tweets
Aug 4, 2020
My piece: How diff state govs finally slashed prices of COVID19 treatment…

- If they could do this, why didnt they do this earlier?
- Now that they did do it, pvt hosps still finding ways to charge patients more than the caps
- But why so arbitrary? Image
** Table is from my own notes on issue. Hard to draw a table given that diff govs issued their circulars variously. So read table w/ caveats: Some states indicated these prices as what insurance cos will pay, some as what Ayushman Bharat rates will be, some which patients pay +
** + some states have indicated these prices as what it will be in NABH and non-NABH hospitals, etc.

And the conflict arises when there is an intersection of these price caps!

So before immediately celebrating the price caps, know that these are all badly written circulars!
Read 11 tweets

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