Monday, 20 January 2014

Price of snake anti-venom raised three times (Report from India) - via Herp Digest

Staff Reporter, 1/15/14

Pharmaceutical companies have raised the price of snake anti-venom by three times in the past one year. 

At the same time, doctors attest that the snake anti-venom being distributed is substandard and 40 doses have to be given instead of 10 doses. As there are no anti-venom stocks in hospitals, those in this sector have warned people to be careful in January and February.

Rajini, a homemaker and a resident of Chalad, who was admitted to Pariyaram Medical College after being bitten by a viper at home on Thursday, continues to be in critical condition. 

Last week, another woman had died of snakebite in Mundoor. 

It is in this situation that the warning from those in the sector has come. Earlier, it was enough to give 10 phials, or one dose, to those who reached hospitals.

Anti-venom is produced nowhere in Kerala. Doctors say that a patient can be saved only if he is given more than 40 doses of the anti-venom supplied now by multinationals. Also, one dose, which cost Rs 360 till last year, is now charged nearly Rs 1,000. Most bites occur in January and February, when snakes, mostly cobras and vipers, come out to mate. 

As per World Health Organisation data, most deaths due to snakebites happen in India. Still, the government has not started efforts to produce antivenom in the public sector. Anti-venom is mainly produced by injecting the venom collected from snakes on horses.

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