Kolkata: A sudden shortage of vitamins and zinc supplements have cropped up in Kolkata and its suburbs following a scramble to buy the drugs found to boost immune system. Pharmacies, that have procured Vitamins A, B complex with folic acid, C, D3 and zinc supplements even a week back, are left with zero stock.
Some of the pharmacies that have managed to get hold of lesser known brands of these medicines and dietary supplements are catering to the growing demand.
The demand, pharmacies feel, increased after several messages viral on social networking platforms claimed efficacy of these vitamins in boosting immunity and preventing body from Covid-19 attacks. “There is a shortage of some such medicines especially Vitamin C tablets. The demand for these medicines have spiked as people are using those as immunity boosters. In some mild-Covid 19 cases doctors are also prescribing that,” said Gautam Jatia, chief executive officer of Frank Ross Pharmacy.
According to Jyotishka Pal, senior consultant at the RTIICS, Vitamin C helps in maintaining mucosal integrity. “In easier words Vitamin C, which is collagen based, helps to maintain health of nasal passages or oral cavity, which the virus wants to penetrate first. Vitamin D deficient patients have lesser chance of coming out of criticality or ventilation. But these medicines should be taken as per the doctor’s advice,” Pal said.
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“The shortage is from people trying to stock up medicines. We have started to ration sales of these medicines. There will not be a shortage if people stop indiscriminate buying,” said Manik Lal Das, district secretary (south Kolkata) of Bengal Chemists and Druggists Association. Animesh Talukdar, who works at the Dhanwantary store near the SSKM Hospital also felt that a shortage can be seen from panic buying of the medicine. “There’s panic buying and we are just not being able to cope with this,” he said. Subir Sen, district secretary (north Kolkata) of BCDA felt that pharmacists are now trying to meet the demand through lesser known brands.
Consumers, who are buying these dietary supplements and medicines, don’t want to take any chance with the immunity boosters. “We know that vitamin C is good against cough, cold and infection but never thought of having them through supplementary medication,” said Anasuya Banerjee, resident of Harish Mukherjee Road.
Mukesh Kochar, who has been treating Covid patients at Belle Vue Hospital has been prescribing such supplements to people as immunity boosters. “We do not know for sure whether we can ward off Covid contraction by having these medicines, but they will definitely help to fill up any vitamin deficiency that one may have,” he reasoned.