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Bombay High Court Asks Centre To Consider Increasing Allocation Of Remdesivir For Maharashtra

Sharmeen Hakim
2 May 2021 2:01 PM GMT
Bombay High Court Asks Centre To Consider Increasing Allocation Of Remdesivir For Maharashtra
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The Bombay High Court has asked the Central government to reconsider its allocation of Remdesivir injections to Maharashtra. The Nagpur bench observed the reduction of vials for the State is inconsistent with the decrease in coronavirus cases. A division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Avinash Gharote, while hearing a suo motu public interest litigation on Covid management in the...

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The Bombay High Court has asked the Central government to reconsider its allocation of Remdesivir injections to Maharashtra.

The Nagpur bench observed the reduction of vials for the State is inconsistent with the decrease in coronavirus cases.

A division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Avinash Gharote, while hearing a suo motu public interest litigation on Covid management in the Vidarbha region of the State, on Sunday, observed,

"The active cases have reduced by hardly 1-2%, whereas the reduction in allocation to the State of Maharashtra is about 14.5%. This mismatch needs to be reconsidered."

The bench then told the Additional Solicitor General of India, UM Aurangabadkar, that they would pass an order directing the Central government to revise the new order and align the reduction in proportion to reducing cases. Aurangabadkar requested the court to refrain from passing any order at this stage and allow him to take instructions on the issue at his level first. The court recorded Aurangabadkar's submissions.

The bench referred to the Centre's fresh order dated May 1, 2021, allocating Remdesivir to States across India. As per the order issued in continuation to earlier orders, Maharashtra's total allocation is 8,09,500 vials from April 21 to May 9. However, the State's allocation was reduced from 4.35 lakh till April 30, to 3.74 lakh from May 1, 2021, for the next ten days.

The May 1 order is issued jointly by the Department of Pharmaceuticals and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The State's are expected to purchase Remdesivir from manufacturers directly, based on this allocation.

Even the order to increase Maharashtra's allocation to 4,35,000 vials for the ten days of April was passed after the Nagpur bench's intervention last month. The court interacted with the Drug Controller General of India, who told the that the central committee would consider a request made from the State with proper justification. The court then directed the FDA Commissioner of the State to send such a presentation, which was sent the next day after the hearing, and the increase was approved by the DGCI the day after itself.

During the special hearing on Sunday, the amicus curiae SP Bhandarkar submitted that the Central government needed to reconsider the allocation based on the percentage share of each State in the national figure of active cases. "If at a given time, say, for example, the share of Maharashtra in nationwide load is about 20%, they should be getting 20% vials produced," he submitted.

AdvocateTushar Mandlekar, appearing for an intervenor in the PIL, submitted that the latest order on Remdesivir allocation "did not reflect that."

Maharashtra's Remdesivir allocation before April 21, 2021, was 2.69 lakh vials, which was increased on April 24 by 1.66 lakh vials to 4.35lakh vials for the period April 21 to April 30, 2021. It has since been reduced to 3.74 lakh vials.

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