Doctors express concern over unwarranted medication and hospitalization during Covid

New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS): A group of around 35 doctors from across the country have written an open letter to the union’s Department of Health regarding unwarranted testing, medication and hospitalization during the ongoing Covid pandemic and called for urgent intervention for a response evidence-based to the current wave.

“While there is still a great deal of uncertainty amid the outbreak of this new disease, there is now substantial high quality scientific literature that provides unequivocal guidance on the clinical management of Covid-19. Despite the weight of this evidence and the overwhelming number of delta wave deaths, we find that the mistakes of the 2021 response are repeated in 2022,” the open letter reads.

Doctors identified three main issues of wrongful medications, wrongful tests and wrongful hospitalizations.

The letter says the vast majority of patients with Covid-19, with asymptomatic and mild symptoms, will require little or no medication. “Most of the prescriptions we have looked at over the past two weeks include multiple Covid-19 ‘kits’ and cocktails. The prescription of combination vitamins, azithromycin, doxycycline, hydroxychloroquine, favipiravir and ivermectin to treat Covid-19 is an irrational practice. Such gratuitous use of drugs is not without danger, as the Delta wave has shown. Outbreaks of opportunistic fungal infections like mucormycosis in India and aspergillosis in Brazil have been attributed to the widespread misuse of inappropriate medications,” the letter states.

Speaking to IANS, Dr Anant Bhan, Yenepoya (considered a university), Mangaluru, one of the signatories said that with almost two years of fighting the pandemic behind us, it is extremely important to ensure that evidence-based medical and policy decisions are made. Our letter calls on all relevant stakeholders to focus on public health measures, including vaccination, and to ensure that inappropriate medications and diagnoses are discouraged.

In the open letter, they called on central and state health authorities to end these “unwarranted” practices and promote evidence-based medicine. He suggested updating the June 2021 DGHS evidence-based guidelines. Through public education and professional training, discourage the use of drugs that have no supporting evidence for the treatment of Covid-19, doctors said.

Doctors also suggested discouraging the use of unwarranted diagnoses, especially for asymptomatic and mild cases, where none are required except for antigen or PCR confirmation tests and publishing guidelines in local languages. Stop any state-sponsored promotion or distribution of drugs, cocktails, alternative therapies or potions that are not scientifically proven therapies, the letter suggests.

Provide all healthcare workers with adequate N95 masks and eye protection. Continue to accelerate vaccination, building on current successes, says the letter signed by a few doctors of Indian origin at Harvard and Johns Hopkins universities in the United States.

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