Observing that Liposomal Amphotericin B allocated by the Centre to the State is not sufficient to treat the patients of black fungus, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday sought Central Government's response with regards to its allocation to different States based on the patient load.
A division bench comprising of Justice K Vijayalakshmi and Justice D Ramesh also requested the State Government to start awareness campaigns highlighting the cause, effect and preventive measures to be taken to tackle Mucormycosis or black fungus disease.
"We are conscious of the fact that there is acute shortage of the subject drug to treat black fungus and that the Union of India is making all efforts to procure the same to meet the requirement. As the memo filed by the Central Government is not clear with regard to the allocation of the subject drug to different States basing on the number of patients, Union of India is directed to file a status report in this regard by the next date of hearing." the bench directed.
The development came after ASG N Harinath filed a memo on behalf of the Centre stating that several States are requesting for allotment of higher quantities of the said drug and that in view of this, the allocation is made by the Centre. It was also stated that around 13830 injections have been allocated to the State of Andhra Pradesh till May 31. It was further stated that additional 7770 vials have been allocated to the State on 5th June.
"The subject drug which is allocated by the Union of India to this State is not sufficient to treat the patients of black fungus." The Court observed at the outset.
Furthermore, the Court went ahead to note the following questions with regards to the new black fungus disease have been bothering everyone:
i) Whether it is medically prudent to administer to a patient suffering from Mucormycosis (Black fungus), two vials of the said medicine on a daily basis, if the advised dosage is six vials per day i.e., 300 mg per day?
ii) If a patient due to shortage of the said medicine, is allocated only two vials per day, what are the other medications which he could be administered in combination to cure the diseases?
iii) If the patient is not administered the full required dosage, is he exposed to progress of the disease?
iv) Whether it would be medically prudent to identify patients who should be given the full doses, even if it is to be at the expense of denying the said drug to another patient, who may need the same, if so, what should be the basis for medical categorization/prioritization of the patients?
During the course of hearing, amicus curiae pointed out that there are many other diseases and side effects of covid apart from black, white and yellow fungus. It was also stated that one such disease is "multi system inflammatory syndrome" in children, also called as 'MIS-N' in Neonatals which is causing impairment of heart, lungs and kidneys.
"In view of the same, this Court requests the State Government to consider inclusion of the said disease in children in 'Áryogya sree scheme'. State Government may also consider creating more neonatal and pediatric wards to cater to the situation. We also request the State Government to start awareness campaign to acquaint members of public with the cause, effect and preventive measures to be taken to tackle Mucormycosis or black fungus disease." The bench directed.
Furthermore, the Court also went ahead to observe that as the pandemic is likely to go on for some more time, the State has to be fully equipped with the required man-power to handle the situation. In view of this, the Court directed the State to file a memo with regard to steps taken by it with regard to recruitment of paramedical staff.
"Apart from the final year students of MBBS and Nursing course, there will be many more students who have completed the MBBS, Nursing and Para medical courses and who are waiting to write PG examination or waiting for proper government jobs. The State Government may consider utilizing the services of this category of students also by engaging them on honorary basis, to work in a Covid ICUs with an assurance that the Government shall give preference to those candidates at the time of regular recruitment." The Court directed further.
In view of the aforesaid submissions and directions, the Court posted the matter for further hearing on 10th June.