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Remdesivir Allocation Can Be Increased If Specific Request With Proper Justification Received From Maharashtra : DCGI Tells Bombay High Court

Sharmeen Hakim
24 April 2021 11:09 AM GMT
Remdesivir Allocation Can Be Increased If Specific Request With Proper Justification Received From Maharashtra : DCGI Tells Bombay High Court
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The Bombay High Court(Nagpur bench) on Friday interacted with the Drug Controller General of India(DGCI) via video conferencing to discuss the issues related to the supply of Remdesivir drug for State of Maharshtra.A Division Bench of Justices Shukre and SM Modak had earlier summoned the Drug Controller VG Somani to appear via video conference after State was unable to comply with its orders...

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The Bombay High Court(Nagpur bench) on Friday interacted with the Drug Controller General of India(DGCI) via video conferencing to discuss the issues related to the supply of Remdesivir drug for State of Maharshtra.
A Division Bench of Justices Shukre and SM Modak had earlier summoned the Drug Controller VG Somani to appear via video conference after State was unable to comply with its orders to provide 10,000 vials of Remdesivir, to Nagpur District at the first instance.

The bench was hearing a suo motu PIL on the Covid crisis in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region and has passed several pertinent directions in earlier orders.

During the hearing, Somani apprised the bench that despite an official capacity of 38 lakh vials per month, as on April 1, the seven Remdesivir manufacturers were producing only 21 lakh vials due to production issues, adding, it would take another 30-40 days for them to meet the 88 lakh optimal capacity.

He informed the Court that the vials produced are allocated to 14 States through a Central Level Committee, consisting of different Union Ministries. The allocation is based on various factors, he said.

"Can you consider requesting the Committee to increase the quota being given to Maharashtra?" Justice Shukre asked during the hearing. "You must have heard the advocates, that considering the total active cases, Maharashtra we would require over 7 lakh vials for 9 days, but only 2.69 lakh have been allotted.", the judge asked.

"Yes," The Drug Controller said, "active caseload and availability factor will come into play, but even with the existing production capacity, a request can be made to increase the allocation quota to Maharashtra."

He added that if a specific request with proper justification is received from the State of Maharashtra, the Central Committee would certainly consider the same.

The bench then immediately directed the State to review the position regarding the requirement of Remdesivir vials and make a request to the Central Committee, supported by facts, accordingly.

The Court reiterated its earlier stand that there needs to be equitable distribution of vials.

As per the Central Government's order dated 21.4.2021, the allocated quota for Maharashtra is 29,911 vials per day. We would direct the State Government to ensure that these vials are distributed across the state of Maharashtra by adopting the same formula as has been adopted by the Central Government while passing its order dated 21.4.2021.

The Drug Controller also admitted, it wasn't just Maharashtra but other places, as well, where they were unable to meet the demand.

"Dr.Somani submits in response that if a specific request with proper justification is received in this regard from the State of Maharashtra, the Central Committee would certainly consider the same and would take appropriate decision depending upon justification and the vials available in hand. We would, therefore,direct the State of Maharashtra to review the position regarding requirement of Remdesivir vials for the State of Maharashtra and if it is found that more vials are required than those allocated as per the Central Government order, dated 21.4.2021, appropriate request with proper justification be made to the Central Level Committee",the bench said in the order.

What About Amravati?

On Friday, the Court expanded the scope of the PIL from just Nagpur District to other regions of Vidarbha, by making the Divisional Commissioner, Amravati and Joint Commissioner, F.D.A., Amravati parties to the Suo Motu PIL.

Produce the present position on the supply of life-saving drugs such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, Favipiravir, Ivermectin and the supply of oxygen to all the Covid Care Centres in the division, the bench said. The also asked for details on distribution of these Covid essentials to Covid Care Hospitals.

The bench further directed the authorities give details of the vaccination program undertaken or being undertaken in Amravati Division.

In the present petition, while this Court has received in greater measure data and information about Nagpur District but, no information and no data as regards the supply of the afore-stated life-saving drugs, oxygen distribution system adopted for maintaining continuous supply to Covid Care Centres of drugs and vaccination program has been received for the entire division so far and, therefore, we would direct the Divisional Commissioner, Nagpur and the Joint Commissioner, F.D.A., Nagpur to submit a detailed affidavit in this regard on or before the next date.

Also in the order : Consider Using Oxygen From Steel Plants To Meet COVID Emergency : Bombay High Court To State

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