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After Bombay High Court's Intervention, Centre Increases Maharashtra's 10-day Remdesivir Allocation To 4,35,000 Vials

Sharmeen Hakim
28 April 2021 9:25 AM GMT
After Bombay High Courts Intervention, Centre Increases Maharashtras 10-day Remdesivir Allocation To 4,35,000 Vials
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A day after the Drug Controller General of India (MoHFW) interacted with the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court, Maharashtra's Remdesivir allocation for April 21-30, 2021 was increased by 1,66,000 vials; from 2,69,000 vials to 4,35,000 vials, by the Central Committee, on April 24.However, the State's counsel informed the bench, on Tuesday, that they hadn't received even 1/3rd quantity of...

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A day after the Drug Controller General of India (MoHFW) interacted with the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court, Maharashtra's Remdesivir allocation for April 21-30, 2021 was increased by 1,66,000 vials; from 2,69,000 vials to 4,35,000 vials, by the Central Committee, on April 24.

However, the State's counsel informed the bench, on Tuesday, that they hadn't received even 1/3rd quantity of the allotted vials from pharma companies despite placing a purchase order, based on the allocation.

The division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Avinash Gharote orally noted that these claims were missing from the State's affidavit and then directed them to file a detailed response on the efforts taken by them to procure the drugs from manufacturers, following MoHFW's revised allocation.

The Central Government's order is specific, and it ought to be followed in its letter and spirit by all the States, in particular the State of Maharashtra. It is in this regard that we would like to have specific information from the State of Maharashtra, which for the present, is not forthcoming.

The State Government, through its Nodal Officer, would be required to place on record a detailed affidavit as to the steps taken by it in pursuance of the directions given by the Central Government in its communication dated 21st April 2021."

The Central Committee (MoHFW) order requires the State to immediately appoint a State Nodal Officer who would be responsible for the unrestricted and timely movement of Remdesivir drug within the State of Maharashtra and coordinate with the Centre. Other directions include placing purchase orders with individual manufacturers based on revised allocation.

A Nodal officer is already appointed, the State informed the Court.

The bench also directed the State, through the Nodal officer, to issue a revised circular, on the allotment of Remdesivir to different districts within the State, if not already done.

Unless and until such a revised district-wise allocation order is issued by the State Government, it would not be possible for any of the districts to ascertain as to whether or not it is being supplied Remdesivir vials in numbers matching with the drug quota allocated to that district. Therefore, we direct the State Government to also place on record information in this regard along with a copy of the latest district-wise allocation of Remdesivir drug.

On April 23, the bench had interacted with the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI), VG Somani, via video conferencing to discuss issues related to the supply of Remdesivir drug for the State of Maharashtra. Somani informed the Court that the allocation of Remdesivir was done by a Central Committee, adding, the allocation can be increased if a specific request with proper justification is received from Maharashtra.

The Court then directed the State to request for an increased allocation if found fit, following which a request was made by the State and allocation was increased.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the bench also passed several other directions.

Import of Remdesivir for Maharashtra

State Counsel Ketki Joshi informed the bench that the State wants to import Remdesivir from other countries such as Bangladesh, Hong Kong and Singapore. But the Central Government has still not responded to the Chief Secretary of State of Maharashtra's letter dated 22nd April 2021, seeking permission for the same.

The bench then requested ASGI U.M. Aurangabadkar, to seek instructions from the Central Government on this subject and inform the Court as to whether or not the Central Government has granted permission to the State of Maharashtra for importing Remdesivir.

Government Medical College allowed to reduce 120 beds (20%) Oxygen beds, use them as a contingency.

During the hearing, GMC's Dean Sudhir Gupta cited a letter from Brain Trusters, Hospital Project Management Consultancy Services firm, in charge of the maintenance and upkeep of their oxygen storage plant, advising GMC to earmark 20 % of its oxygen beds as contingency beds on the ground that there has been a sudden increase in demand of oxygen and on another hand, supply of oxygen is erratic and, therefore, a situation may arise that on a given day there is not available sufficient storage of oxygen, which may lead to the collapse of entire distribution system leading to endangering of lives of all patients.

The bench said the apprehension was reasonable, and, therefore, reduction of oxygen beds by 20 % as advised by the consultant can be accepted and we do accept it.

This would mean that 20% of the total 600 oxygen beds would not be permitted to be occupied by any patient and these beds would exist only to meet any contingency of an unforeseen nature like tripping of oxygen storage plant. In the circumstances, we grant permission to G.M.C., Nagpur to reserve 20 % of the total 600 oxygen beds as contingency beds, the bench observed.

During the hearing, the bench took note of the fact that all 600 beds were currently occupied and directed PSUs to use CSR funds to set up oxygen plants in the Government Hospitals.

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