By LE Desk
Mumbai, April 24: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday requested the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for more vials of Remdesivir for Maharashtra.
A Division Bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and S.M. Modak was hearing a suo motu public interest litigation on shortage of Remdesivir, oxygen and beds for COVID 19 patients.
The court asked, “Have new stocks been received on Remdesivir and oxygen? We have received information from several quarters that Remdesivir is not an elixir. How do we decide how much is required? We need details about medicines provided to other regions apart from Nashik”, The Hindu reported.
The Bench directed Divisional Commissioner, Amravati, and Joint Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, Pune, to file an affidavit on the supply of essential drugs like Remdesivir, Favipiravir and Tocilizumab and the status of supply of oxygen to all COVID Care Centres in five districts.
The court said while data were received on essentials in Nagpur district, no data had been provided on drugs and oxygen to be supplied to COVID-19 centres in Nagpur.
The court considered asking directors of companies to agree to submit their oxygen plants at the disposal of the Divisional Commissioner, Nagpur. However, the advocate appearing for the State requested the court not to pass any direction.
The court then said, “So, you’re saying that till the time the State government responds, the court and the Divisional Commissioner should not take any measures for preservation. So, patients are supposed to die till the State proposes a mechanism.”
Justice Shukre said, “We have to do something. If we can help in filling the gaps, then why not do it? If we are fighting, then it is only against the virus. Everyday a new person is coming and speaking about their grievance.”
Justice Modak said, “We understand you are procuring oxygen from other parts of India. What about installing new plants?”
Justice Shukre noted that based on the State’s submission, five tankers are to be received from Rourkela, each with a capacity of 20 MT.
The Bench noted, “There are 20k cylinders in circulation, out of which 9,000 are with hospitals and 9,000 are in process of being refilled at respective stations of oxygen. Though this appears to be adequate, it appears to us that this may not be so. Had the oxygen supply been in order, there would be no complaint of non-availability.”
The court asked the Drugs Controller General of India, Dr. V.G. Somani, “Can you increase the number of vials?”, to which Dr. Somani replied that whatever was available with manufacturers had been distributed. The court then directed the State to review the status of the availability of Remdesivir vials for Maharashtra.