The Bombay High Court on Sunday asked the Central government to increase the supply of Remdesivir injections to Maharashtra observing the current reduction in the allocation of the crucial drug is not consistent with the number of active COVID-19 cases as of May 1.
In a special hearing, the bench of Justices SB Shukre and Avinash Gharote heard a bunch of petitions on the shortage of medical oxygen and Remdesivir, which is in high demand for treating COVID-19 patients.
The bench said the high court came to know about the reduction in the allocation of Remdesivir to Maharashtra from May 1 to May 9.
“For the earlier period of ten days, the allocation was 4,30,000 vials, and the same for the next 10 days is 3,74,500. This means a reduction of 60,500 vials of Remdesivir for Maharashtra,” the judges said.
The bench observed that such a reduction in the allocation of Remdesivir vials to Maharashtra is not consistent with the number of active cases in the state.
“On April 30, the number of active cases in Maharashtra was 6,72,000 while the same is 6,64,000 as of May 1, which means active cases reduced hardly by about 1.2 per cent, whereas the reduction in the allocation of vials to Maharashtra for the aforesaid period is by 14.5 per cent.”
“This mismatch needs to be reconsidered and removed by the Central government,” the bench said.
The high court also said that the Additional Solicitor General of India Ulhas Aurangabadkar would take instructions from the Union government on this issue and apprise the bench.
In the same vein, the bench asked the Centre to reconsider its decision regarding the state-wise allocation of Remdesivir for the aforesaid period of ten days (from May 1 to 9) and increase the quota for Maharashtra to make it consistent with the reduced number of active cases.
Maharashtra FDA Commissioner Parimal Singh submitted in the HC that they will issue new orders ensuring that the districts affected by Remdesivir shortage will get the supply and the backlog is cleared.
Singh told the HC the FDA will meet representatives of pharma companies and ensure they follow the directions at the district level.
The bench directed that no pharmaceutical company, which is duty-bound to supply Remdesivir vials as per the Centre’s orders dated April 24 and May 1 to different states and Maharashtra, shall supply the drug to private purchasers unless the daily quota of the supply allocated to each of these companies is fulfilled.
“Only after that and in case of any remaining balance of Remdesivir vials, the pharma company concerned shall supply the vials to private purchasers till the fulfilment of orders received by them,” the bench said.
The bench directed the health secretary of Maharashtra and state FDA commissioner to ensure that these directions are followed by pharmaceutical companies concerned.
The HC also directed the pharma firms to send their daily production figures to the state FDA commissioner and also upload them on respective websites.
The bench warned of strict legal action for violation of its orders.