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Oxygen prices nearly tripled, selling black in Bengaluru; demand up to at least 300% | India News

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BENGALURÚ: Indicating the severity of the shortage, the city’s private hospitals say irregular medical oxygen providers they are forced to purchase are charging at least three times the price set by the government, while industry representatives They reiterated that the organized sector is selling by the book.
However, they both agree that demand has increased by at least 300% with an increase in UCI and HDU admissions as the second wave sweeps through Bengaluru.
Multiple industry representatives, while allaying fears of a protracted supply problem, said demand could be met by the end of this week.
Dr HM Prasanna, President of the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA), said: “The price of medical oxygen per cubic meter is regulated, which includes the cost of transportation.
With supplies short, many hospitals, especially smaller ones, are shopping anywhere they can get it. While regular suppliers charge around Rs 50, including handling and other costs, last week I paid Rs 75 per cubic meter to a non-regular supplier, which is roughly three times the cost. ”
Few private hospitals said that the current fee in the city is around Rs 800-Rs 900 per cylinder. Puneet Sonu, OT staff of Krishna hospital on Magadi Road, he said: “We need about 25-26 cylinders every 12 hours. Since regular suppliers cannot meet our demand, we are forced to buy abroad. Just yesterday we bought 10 cylinders for 900 rupees. ”
Health Minister K Sudhakar told TOI that actions will be taken against anyone who overcharges, while reiterating that the supply situation will improve in the coming days.
Subhashish Guha Roy, managing director of Universal Air Products, said that the price per cylinder is 202 rupees, including 12% tax, while the transportation costs are additional. “I will not comment on what price an unorganized supplier is selling for. I can assure you that we do not charge more than the fixed price, ”he said.
At least two other large providers with whom TOI spoke highlighted that there were no extra costs and pointed out that demand has multiplied.
As an example, an industry representative said that Akash Hospital is installing a 6,000-liter container.
“Before they were acquiring through a 990-liter tanker,” said the person.
Roy said the massive spike in cases meant there was a sudden spike in demand that caused some stress and the industry couldn’t keep up with it.
“From around 40-50 tonnes per day before, the demand is now around 250-300 tonnes, which is around five times more. There was a raw material problem that is being solved and I don’t think the problem will be solved in the next few days, “he added.
A representative of another large supplier operating in various states in India said that after selling 25-26 tonnes per day in February and March, they are now selling 58 tonnes.
The firm is even bringing in oxygen from Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Kerala to meet demand here.
Guruprasad Rao, senior manager (sales and marketing) at Bhuruka Gases, said: “We produce around 65 tons per day. Before the pandemic, we were selling around 50 tons per day, around 80% of which went to industry, as demand from hospitals was lower. Now, we are selling almost everything we produce and 80% of that goes to the hospital. You can see how much medical demand has increased. ”
All three said that with the diversion of supply to industry, the demand for medical oxygen will be easily met.
“The industry needs roughly 100-150 tonnes per day, now that it’s being diverted to hospitals as well, there shouldn’t be any problem,” Roy said.
Private hospitals, however, argued that in the current situation, government intervention must increase not only to guarantee supplies, but also to monitor the price.

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