27 Apr 2021: How are individuals procuring, selling Remdesivir? Bombay HC asks Centre
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the federal government how private individuals were procuring and selling the crucial drug, Remdesivir.
While raising the question, a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni underlined that companies dealing with the medicine have to provide the entire production to the Centre, which would then distribute it to the states.
Plea: Court entertained plea regarding management of coronavirus situation
The bench was hearing a plea filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Sneha Marjadi. She alleged mismanagement of the coronavirus situation in Maharashtra and sought directions regarding the shortage of Remdesivir and oxygen.
HC noted that the issue of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP purchasing 10,000 vials of Remdesivir was already being heard by the Aurangabad Bench.
The bench took cognizance yesterday.
Incident: A BJP MP had procured vials and distribute them
Last week, Dr. Sujay Vikhe Patil, who represents the Ahmednagar constituency, procured and distributed 10,000 vials.
Commenting on this, the bench asked, "How can 10,000 vials be made available by airlifting them from Delhi by a chartered plane? Would it not amount to private distribution by the person? Delhi itself is in crisis."
The court added that there needs to be increased surveillance.
Details: HC was told Ahmednagar incident isn't a standalone case
When Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh submitted that it was merely a news report, the bench corrected him by saying that Patil himself posted about the vials on social media.
It was also argued that the Ahmednagar case should not be isolated, as other individuals were buying the medicine as well.
Unimpressed by this, HC warned that it could act against the manufacturers.
Fact: 'We may pass an injunction order against manufacturers'
"If we find other instances where private manufacturers are giving Remdesivir directly to individuals, we may pass an injunction order against manufacturers. We want the drugs to reach everyone who is needy and should not be only in the hands of a few," said HC.
What's happening: Indians are taking to social media to secure Remdesivir's vials
As the medical infrastructure is overburdened by the surge in cases, Indians are being forced to seek help from strangers. On social media, netizens have been seeking leads for Remdesivir.
Many doctors say that this drug is not essential for the treatment of COVID-19, but hospitals have been prescribing it nevertheless.
In fact, due to high demand, black marketeering has also increased.
Struggle: Injections being sold for as high as Rs. 60,000
Manish Aggarwal, whose father needs six doses of Remdesivir, told AFP that one dealer offered him hundreds of doses.
"When I asked someone for six injections, he said, 'I can give you 600, you just need to pay me Rs. 60,000 ($800) per injection,'" he said.
He lamented that while patients were suffering in hospitals, their relatives struggled on the streets.