19 May 2021 2:47 PM GMT
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday pulled up both the Central government and the State of Maharashtra for their response to allegations of drugs like Remdesivir and Tocilizubam being procured and distributed by politicians and celebrities while the State continues to complain about a shortage in official supply. The Bench confronted the Maharashtra government for only issuing...
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday pulled up both the Central government and the State of Maharashtra for their response to allegations of drugs like Remdesivir and Tocilizubam being procured and distributed by politicians and celebrities while the State continues to complain about a shortage in official supply.
The Bench confronted the Maharashtra government for only issuing show-cause notices to actor Sonu Sood's foundation and MLA Zeeshan Siddiqui, and not submitting a report before the Court, as directed. Further, the court also asked why the statements of these people have not been recorded yet.
The Bench also asked the Centre why no report was filed by them and details from manufacturers about the supplies made not placed on record.
"Our orders are not even read. You are playing with the lives of people" the Bench remarked.
A division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice Kulkarni made these observations after the Bench asked Advocate Akshay Shinde, appearing for State of Maharashtra, about the action they would be taking against individuals distributing the drugs. The Court noted that show cause notices were issued but replies haven't come.
"Delhi High Court's division Bench has taken a very serious note yesterday. Because who can guarantee that drugs being supplied by these personalities are of proper quality." the Bench remarked.
Bench added that the drug retailer or wholesaler would take responsibility as he is a license holder, but in this case these persons have no license, so who will take the guarantee.
"And why 4 days you have given to them? There should have been a report. You've only issued show cause notice, we said place a report on record. You should have recorded their statements. We are not happy with this." Bench remarked.
"The notice has been issued very casually, only for distribution of Remdesivir." Advocate Rajesh Inamdar representing petitioner Nilesh Navlakha said.
The Chief Justice then said "If by next Tuesday we are not given the information we will be compelled to secure the presence of the Chief secretary.
"Where is the report of the Central government? The direction was not only to the State government but also the Central Government. " the Bench noted.
"We'll call upon the manufactures to explain. We are serious about the orders." ASG Anil Singh representing the Union replied.
The Bench stated that the quantities of drugs the individuals have received are large and there it had decided to include the Union of India categorically.
ASG agreed and stated that they are not taking the court's orders lightly and trying to ensure that there is no black-marketing from all states. People who are not getting drugs are suffering and this should not happen.
"The Manufacturers are very well within control of UOI. All we wanted was a report which could have come in a day but there's no attempt" the Bench said.
"We allocate and orders are placed by State and collected by State." ASG said.
"Allocation is by UOI, collection is by State, where is the window of collection by these personalities. Thats our anxiety." the Bench added.
ASG assured the Court that they will call upon the manufacturers, and try to get details of actual supply made by manufacturers to the State.
Referring to the order of the Division Bench of Delhi High Court, the Bench stated that the Delhi HC's Bench being dissatisfied with such a report rejected it, for not giving enough explanation.
Bench observed that this is defeating the allocation made by Centre, the system put in place by states, and those in need of medicines.
ASG stated that he is providing details of both allocation and supply by different manufacturers. However, the Bench stated that it doesn't give information as to whether there was any other supply to these persons.
ASG said " We will try to get information from manufacturers whether they have given to any private parties. The seven manufacturers have given details of allocation and supply to Maharashtra state."
"The other people who have got the supply, they may have procured it from somewhere, who is going to ensure about their quality. What's the guarantee that they have procured it from regular legal suppliers. Because people are in need today. They will go anywhere where it's available " the Bench said.
"Mr Shinde, we are concerned about the lives of our patients. There cannot be any mileage, whatever popularity or any other mileage from this. If needy patients don't get these, we'd be deeply pained. Sorry state of affairs." the Bench remarked
Notices Issued By FDA For Private Distribution Of Drugs:
State of Maharashtra through its note informed the Court that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued notices to actor Sonu Sood's "Sood Charity Foundation" and NCP's MLA Zeeshan Siddiqui after the Bombay High Court took exception to the private distribution of Remdesivir and other drugs used for the treatment of Covid-19 patients last week.
The notice calls upon them to explain the source from which they received the drug, and the authority by which these entities were permitted to distribute the drug, the State has said in a note to the Bombay High Court.
Supply Of Remdesivir must be based on the critical condition of the patient and not on functional bed capacity: Bench says
During the hearing, the Court noted an affidavit as been filed by the Indian Medical Association. The Court asked the State if functional bed capacity is reflective of the need of the patients, as the foundation of distribution is on the basis of functional bed capacity,
Adv Shinde submitted that they file a response to IMA's affidavit.
" We'll hear you on allocation of Remdesivir. We want to know entire basis of distribution of these drugs.Make your formula more transparent, so vials reaches patients who really need it." Bench said.
"Supply must be based on critical condition of patient and not on functional bed capacity." Chief Justice said.
Issue of Oxygen Supply: The Bench asked the State of Maharashtra about the details regarding the number of cases in the state, the demand of oxygen and the amount of allocated oxygen.
The Bench was surprised that in one week, even when the number of cases decreased as claimed, oxygen necessity hasn't.
The Bench noted that numbers have reduced by 6000, with ICU Ventilator patients further reduced to 24,084 and 48k patients who are not on oxygen ICU Beds.
"We're going to say, with change in instructing officer there's also change in data." the Bench said.
Dashboard For Allocation Of Beds: The Bench observed that experts should be included in the Committee responsible to make the dashboard.
Further, the Bench said that there has to be proper research & application of mind.
"It should be continuous process, #COVID or non covid.This has been an eye opener for us. Experts should be involved." Bench observed.
The Bench further said that right persons have to be chosen for the job, and there has to be proper selection. Experts need to be included in combination of these hospitals and doctors who can give data.
Audit For Drug Administration:
The Bench asked the State of Maharashtra if any audit for use for drugs was being conducted by the state.
The Bench raised the question after making note of the State's submission that in govt hospitals there is no shortage of drug, as compared to private hospitals which use it at 80% of the occupied beds in an 'indiscriminate' way, the government hospitals use it at 10% of occupied beds.
"Is there any audit for administration of this to vials? Are you making audits? What's the point of making such allegations when you can't substantiate with proof? You have no material before you." the Bench asked
The Bench further pulled up the State for not following the court's order, by not providing data in terms of the demand, as directed by the court.
"Have you asked for any data with regards to demand. See our order, it has to be demand based. The moment there are patients a demand is made to nodal officer. Where is that Data? You haven't explained everything." Justice Kulkarni said.
"We are not here to micro manage. We have to see that system is smooth and no patient suffers due to want of bed, oxygen, medicines, etc. We can't govern what happens on level of nodal officer." the Court observed.
With Inputs From Sharmeen Hakim