The Gujarat High Court on Monday said there appears to be “lack of coordination” between the Centre and the state government in the allocation of the required amount of Remdesivir injections.
The HC noted that the Union government continued to supply vials to the state in the range of 16,000 per day for the last one month while the demand was around 25,000 vials per day.
A division bench of Justices Bela Trivedi and Justice Bhargav D Trivedi asked Assistant Solicitor General Devang Vyas, representing the Centre, why Gujarat’s demand was not being met.
“What will happen to the patients who require this (injection)? Should the government allow the patients to die for want of Remdesivir?” the court asked.
The HC further directed the Centre to put on record the policy in place for the allocation of Remdesivir, an injection used to treat critical COVID-19 patients, to the states.
It observed that, despite an increase in production to 1 crore vials per month from 30,00,000 earlier, the Centre’s allocation to Gujarat had remained at around 16,000 per day since April 21.
The HC is hearing a suo motu PIL on issues concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
Representing the state government, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi told the court that between April 21 and May 16, Gujarat received 4,19,000 vials of remdesivir, at the rate of 16,115 vials per day, despite the state making demand for more than 25,000 vials “during the course of a video conference”.
He later clarified that the state was conveying the demand of 25,000 vials “on the higher side”.
“As of now, your (state’s) GMSCL (Gujarat Medical Services Corporation Limited) is distributing it (to the hospitals) in Gujarat, as per the requirements. Then, in those circumstances, demand comes from the hospitals to the GMSCL, and you (government) send it to the Centre.
“Now, there is a total lack of coordination, it appears, between the Centre and the state for the procurement of the balance amount of about 10,000 Remdesivir vials for the last one month,” the court observed.
The HC said the Centre must give enough quota from Monday itself.
Vyas told court Remdesivir was being allocated as per demand from 36 states and Union Territories and availability of vials, and it was not that the Centre had an unlimited supply and was withholding the same from the states and UTs.
Vyas said, between April 21 and May 23, the supply to Gujarat had increased to 5,10,000 vials, making it the second highest among 36 states and UTs in the country.
The HC bench then asked the Centre to justify the mismatch between demand and allocation, and also put on record the policy being adopted for allocation. The matter will next come up for hearing on May 26.