The Bombay High Court on Thursday said that Maharashtra needs to tell the Centre that mucormycosis patients in the Marathwada region of the state are dying due to the shortage of medicine required in its treatment. Justices R V Ghuge and B U Debadwar of the high court’s Aurangabad bench was informedthat patients in Marathwada were being under-treated as there is a shortage in the supply of Amphotericin B, a drug used in the treatment of mucormycosis or black fungus infection.
The bench was hearing petitions pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocate Satyajit Bora, appointed to assist the court, argued that patients are being administered one to two injections per day as against the requirement of four to five injections per patient per day.
As a consequence, there have been 124 deaths. Even today, there is a shortage of about 70 per cent of the required quantity of the drug, he said. Government pleader D R Kale told the court that currently there are 1,178 mucormycosis cases in the Marathwada region. Of these, 669 patients are currently undergoing treatment, 385 others have been cured, while 124 patients have died till now.
Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the court that Maharashtra has been allocated 68,360 vials of the drugs from the overall stock of 2,70,000. The pharmaceutical industries that were manufacturing the said drug, have been instructed to ramp up the production, he said.
The attempt to increase the production would be fruitful over a period of 20 to 25 days. After hearing all the submissions, the court said, “Considering the situation, we find that the state of Maharashtra will have to apprise the Union of India as regards to the growing number of mucormycosis patients and especially highlight the factthat in some parts of the state, as like in the Marathwada region, patients are dying due to shortage of Amphotericin B.” As patients are being administeredinadequate dosage, the mortality rate is quite high considering 669 active patients today and 124 deaths, it noted.
The bench directed the state government to place before it a ready reference chart indicating thenumber of mucormycosis patients under treatment, cured patients and the number of deaths till June 9. It also sought a chart indicating supply of Amphotericin B, between June 2 and 9.
The court will hear the matter again on June 10.