THE State Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) on Monday assured the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court that some solution would be found to the problem of unavailability of remdesivir injections for needy Covid-19 patients “by tomorrow”.
The HC bench comprising Justice Zaka Haq and Justice Amit Borkar also directed FDA to track the journey of the Tocilizumab injection from production to hospitals and submit a report on allegations of the drug being hoarded by Tuesday.
The order came in response to a bunch of petitions before the court, including one taken up suo motu by the court last year.
“Instructions from Vijay Kose, Joint Commissioner, FDA, stated that remdesivir injunctions are being supplied to the dedicated hospitals as per the procedure laid down in the communication issued by the Commissioner, FDA, on 5th April 2021. Kose also informed that remdivisir injections are not being sold from counters of private pharmacists,” the bench said.
“It is submitted that some persons are getting prescriptions in the name of one patient from different doctors to purchase remdesivir injections and are selling the same in black market. As regards this also, the authorities assured that some solution to monitor the supply of remdesivir injections to needy patients will be found out by tomorrow,” the court further said.
About Tocilizumab injection, the court said, “It is not in dispute that Tocilizumab injections were being sold at the counters of private pharmacists and that these injections are being sold at a very high prices and there is reason to believe that some persons have hoarded these injections. We direct the Commissioner, FDA, Nagpur to cause an inquiry in the matter immediately and place report on the record of this petition by tomorrow. To make it clear, we want that the flow of Tocilizumab injections from the production to the wholesalers and to the retailers, and the dispensing of these injunctions from the counters of the private pharmacists should be tracked and if there is any hoarding, appropriate action as per the law should be taken against the erring persons.”
It was also brought to the court’s notice that because of paucity of beds in government hospitals and dedicated Covid hospitals, needy patients were required to go to non-dedicated hospitals and some serious patients have not been getting remdesivir injections.
The court was assured by FDA and NMC that some solution will be found by Tuesday to redress this grievance.
On paucity of medical oxygen, the court said, “The state government may consider establishing an oxygen production unit at Nagpur.”
“Looking to the situation prevailing today and that the situation is worsening day by day, we request the Hon’ble Chief Minister to look into the matter with urgency and examine the matter regarding setting up of a plant at Nagpur,” the bench said, adding, “we hope and trust that some urgent decision will be taken in the matter immediately and conveyed to this court by tomorrow. ”
The bench also directed Mayor Daya Shanker Tiwari to file an affidavit by Tuesday “pointing out background on the basis of which he had made statement that a 500-bed hospital in the Mankapur Stadium in the city to be set up.” It also told the NMC Commissioner to file his affidavit on whether the idea can be implemented, by Tuesday.
Taking cognisance of an attack on a hospital by some people, the bench also directed authorities “to ensure safety of the doctors and health workers, so that their morale is not affected. We direct the Commissioner of Police to ensure that sufficient police force is deployed at the government hospitals at the casualty entrance to ensure that unnecessary vandalism and rowdyism is not created by the relatives of the patients. We further direct the Commissioner of Police, Nagpur, to ensure that 24/7 patrolling is done by the police near dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, so that doctors and health workers of these hospitals can work in a protected atmosphere, without there being any fear of vandalism. We further direct the police authorities to take immediate and stern action against the persons creating ruckus at these places.”
The bench also requested the media not to highlight “unfortunate incidents (of attack on doctors).”
“We request the media and press that the unfortunate incidents should not be highlighted too much because highlighting of unfortunate incidents creates unnecessary panic in citizens which results in further untoward incidents,” the court observed.