On World Thyroid Day, Sassoon out of medicines for hypothyroidism

May 25, 2012, 07:43 IST | Neha Taneja

Pharmacy HoD says medicine out of stock since 10 months

Today is World Thyroid Day, which is observed to promote awareness and understanding of thyroid health and the advances made in treating thyroid diseases. While all that is good, what is disheartening for a number of patients is the fact that free distribution of medicines for a condition called hypothyroidism has been stalled for the past 10 months at the state-run Sassoon General Hospital. 

Dr B B Ghongane, professor and Head of the Department of Pharmacy, confirmed that the medicines are out of stock for the past 10 months despite having sent quotation forms to pharmaceutical companies several times.

Bitter truth: Sassoon General Hospital, where free distribution of the medicine for hypothyroidism remains stalled. file pic

“The rate contract (RC) that is given to GlaxoSmithKline for providing thyroid medicines to state-run hospitals was due for expiry on December 16, 2011, but they stopped supply of Eltroxin from August despite repeated attempts from our side. We even tried to procure medicines on local level and sent quotation forms to 12 pharmaceutical companies, but none of them responded,” Ghongane said.

He added that the stock of Eltroxin, which is used for hypothyroidism, got exhausted in August last year, but supply of Carbimazole, used for hyperthyroidism, remains regular.

“Our monthly requirement of Eltroxin is 3,000 tablets, but no pharmacy is showing interest in taking orders despite us making several attempts. Even today (Thursday) we called 12 pharmaceutical companies and sent them quotation forms for the third time on an urgent basis and their last date for form submission is May 25,” said an official at the Sassoon medical store.

The official added that on May 19, an order was placed with another pharmaceutical company under RC for 14,000 tablets, but no assurance on the supply date has been received from their side.

“There are more than 4,000 medicines that are supplied to state-run hospitals by the government and only 1,000 of them are under RC. Even if a medicine is out of stock, it is the responsibility of the dean to procure it at local level and ensure that patients are not denied medication. Now that we have a new supplier for Eltroxin, the problem will soon be resolved,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, chief of Directorate of Medical Education and Research.


Thyroid facts
The most common thyroid disorder, hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck producing hormones that influence virtually every cell, tissue and organ in the body, fails to produce enough hormones. Deficiency of thyroid hormones like thyroxine can lead to a variety of symptoms like weight gain, swelling, muscle pain, constipation, anaemia, lethargy and impairment of memory. 
The other side
A GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson said: “GSK supplies Eltroxin to customers across the country. There is no reason why we will not respond to Sassoon Hospital. We work with around 3000 stockiest in the country and it will take us some time to investigate and revert on this particular case.”

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