Ensure supply of life-saving drugs in one hour: HC to MP govt

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Jabalpur, Apr 19 (PTI) The Madhya High Court on Monday directed the state government to ensure the supply of life-saving drugs within an hour from the requisition made by doctors treating COVID-19 patients.

The high court also said the government can regulate the supply of Remdesivir injections and other life-saving drugs but the process must be hassle-free and that the supply of the drug should be time-bound, amicus curiae and senior advocate Naman Nagrath said.

The HC also observed that 'being a national calamity and a country-wide problem, the union government should consider to arrange oxygen from the industrial use and if not sufficient, import it'.

'Similarly increase the production of Remdesivir and till such time it is not done it should consider to import it,' the HC said.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Sreedharan observed: 'The high court in an extraordinary situation like the present one, when they are brought to notice, cannot just play a silent spectator'.

The bench directed the state government to ensure that the supply of the drug be planned in such a way that the time limit from requisition made by treating doctors and the supply of medicines does not exceed an hour, Nagrath said.

'The state government may regulate the supply of Remdesivir injections and other life-saving drugs but the process adopted for this purpose should be hassle-free and should not be cumbersome,' the order said.

'Ordinarily these matters lie in the domain of the Executive, who has the responsibility to resolve all the identified problematic issues,' it said.

The order said one can easily imagine the situation of district headquarters, sub-divisions and rural areas where the disease of coronavirus is said to have made inroads.

'This is a scenario which is emerging from major cities like Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur,' the bench stated.

It said that all the hospitals, whether government or private, shall not refuse to attend to the patients suffering from other serious ailments and provide them timely treatment.

The Madhya Pradesh government should take over the buildings of government and private schools/colleges, training centres, marriage halls, hotels and stadiums etc to set up covid care and dedicated health centres, the order said.

The government might do so either itself or by involving the private hospitals or reputed NGOs, it said.

The HC also directed the state government to take steps to set up more electric crematoriums in at least big cities and get repaired those which are out of order.

The bench said the government should consider suggestions of the Indian Medical Association and the MP Nursing Home Association to provide a soft loan to set up its own air separation Units.

The HC said the state government should place on record the correct data with regard to number of sanctioned posts and working strength of senior specialists, specialists, medical officers, health officers, Ayush medical officers, paramedical staff and technicians.

'Looking at the scarcity of the adequate number of medical staff in the emergent situation, the state government should consider reappointing the medical officers, paramedical and nursing staff, who have retired during past two to three years, to cope up with the ongoing crisis,' it stated.

The HC further directed the government to take stock of the day-to-day situation of the number of patients, availability of beds, ICU beds and ventilators, and as per the requirement, consider enhancing the capacity to cater to the need of a given place.

The state government shall ensure displaying of data with regard to the availability of normal beds, ICU beds and ventilators on its 'Sarthak' portal of all government and private hospitals/ nursing homes on a real-time basis.

The HC said the government shall, if it has not already notified the rates, fix the rates for being charged by the private hospitals/nursing homes and private pathological labs/ diagnostic centres for treatment/tests in consonance with its earlier orders by indicating capping of such charges and should ensure that these rates are adhered to by them.

'Being a national calamity and a country-wide problem, the union government should consider to arrange oxygen from the industrial use and if not sufficient, import it.

Similarly, increase production of Remdesivir and till such time it is not done it should consider to import it,' the order said.

The HC pronounced the order after taking on record the action plan of the state government and the submissions of other counsels appearing in a bunch of petitions during the hearing held last week. PTI COR ADU NSK NSK