Source: The News Minute

Medical shops in Hyderabad are seeing an unusual demand for multivitamin tablets as COVID-19 cases rise in the city. 

When this reporter visited some of the medical stores in the city, pharmacists said that there has been a tremendous increase in the sale of such multivitamin and Vitamin C tablets. However, pharmacies of private hospitals, including Apollo pharmacies, have restricted the sale of such vitamin tablets only to those with a prescription, as directed by the management.

According to some pharmacists, the demand increased ever since the Telangana government advised home quarantine for all the asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients and to discharge all such patients from the Gandhi Hospital, the nodal centre for COVID-19 patients in the state. 

Since then, the patients who have recovered, have been widely sharing on social media — via posts and videos — about the kind of treatment and the diet they have been following while in home quarantine, which includes taking multivitamin tablets, too.

According to the sources from Gandhi Hospital, initially, COVID-19 patients with mild to no symptoms are given a multivitamin and vitamin C and D tablets for a week, Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets for five days as well as paracetamol, if required by the patient, in case of fever. These medicines are also given to all family members of the patient as a precautionary measure.

ASHA workers have been home delivering all medicines ever since home quarantine was advised for such patients.

However, as the word spread about these medicines, pharmacies have been witnessing panic buying, which has resulted in the shortage of these tablets.

In fact, Anand Kumar Goud, a member of Indrabagh Medical Traders Association in Hyderabad, said that they have been facing a shortage of these medicines for a while now, which was ‘never’ the case. “Yes, there has been an increase in demand for multivitamin and vitamin C and D tablets across the medical stores in Hyderabad. And the medicines are also running short in several pharmacies,” he said. 

Doctors stress that multivitamin tablets are given to patients only to increase their immunity and there is no proven ‘cure’ for coronavirus yet.

Dr Shashidar, who works at the COVID-19 ward in Gandhi Hospital, said, “As there is no specific medicine to currently treat COVID-19 patients, all we can do is increase the immunity power of the patient. That is why we are giving them multivitamin tablets, which is rich in antioxidants and helps people develop their immunity power.

We are giving vitamin C and D tablets apart from Hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol, azithromycin (anti-bacterial tablet for sore throat) depending on symptoms,” he told TNM.

He also added that immunity can also be boosted in natural ways. “For example, instead of vitamin C tablets, one can consume citrus fruits, including oranges and lemons. Dry fruits are also a good source of multivitamins, and follow a protein-rich diet that includes vegetables, eggs and chicken,” recommended Dr Shashidar.

Related: Despite WHO’s Warning, India Continues Use of Hydroxychloroquine as Prevention Measure

Maharashtra: HCQ now a part of state government’s recommended treatment protocol

Indian Council of Medical Research, to use hydroxychloroquine as preventative for healthcare workers.

UN Chief Antonio Guterres salutes India for helping over 55 coronavirus-hit countries by sending Hydroxychloroquine and other aids

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