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Letter of Health Minister on Artificial Shortage of Desferal created by Novartis Pharma


An artificial shortage of the drug  #Desferal used for removing excess iron that accumulates in the bodies of persons who undergo regular blood transfusions (Thalassemics) has been created. Novartis Pharma, is the sole producer of the drug in India. 

Dear Shri Nadda ji,


We like to bring to your notice the tragic plight of patients with Thalassemia Major due to the non-availability of a life saving drug, Desferal. Desferal, is administered to remove excess iron that accumulates in the bodies of persons who undergo blood transfusion regularly.

We have received reports from various parts of the country, especially from Karnataka and Delhi about the non-availability of the drug. The lives of thousands of Thalassemics who have to undergo regular blood transfusions are in danger. If the drug is not taken regularly, the excess iron that gets accumulated can damage vital organs. Some patients require at least three vials every day.

Sir, you may be aware that Novartis has a virtual monopoly, being the only company that is manufacturing and supplying the drug in India. Thalassemics dependent on Desferal in Bengaluru have reported that they have been facing a shortage for nearly a year, which has become more acute in the past one month or so.

Even Thalassaemia societies in some cities who buy it directly from the manufacturer, Novartis, and pass on the drug to the patients are left without stocks now.

Though there is an alternative available in the form of chelation, this has been found to be not suitable to all those who undergo regular transfusions.

Despite the company claiming that they have enough stocks, it seems an artificial shortage has been created.

We seek your urgent intervention to see that the lives of thousands of Thalassemics are not put in danger due to the non-availability of this drug.  We request you to see that adequate supply of this life saving drug to those in need is ensured.


Also, the ministry should proceed against those responsible for creating this artificial shortage. Nobody can be permitted to exploit such situations for pecuniary benefits while endangering precious lives.


With regards


Yours sincerely







National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled

36, Pt. Ravishankar Shukla Lane

New Delhi 110 001


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Comment (1)


    The monopoly of the company on important drug is the main cause of creating artificial shortage. The company wants to make huge profits by creating artificial shortage. Such unfair practices must be checked by the government and it should ensure ample stocks of the drug are available in hospitals and markets.

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