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"Pathetic Situation In State, Non-Availability Of Remdesivir Injection, Medicines": Jharkhand High Court Issues Directions On COVID Management

Sparsh Upadhyay
21 April 2021 5:56 AM GMT
Pathetic Situation In State, Non-Availability Of Remdesivir Injection, Medicines: Jharkhand High Court Issues Directions On COVID Management
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Days after it took note of the issue of non-availability of CT Scan machine in RIMS, the Jharkhand High Court last week expressed concern over the manner in which the State of Jharkhand has been handling the recent surge in Covid-19 cases. A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad called it a "serious issue of concern" that while the...

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Days after it took note of the issue of non-availability of CT Scan machine in RIMS, the Jharkhand High Court last week expressed concern over the manner in which the State of Jharkhand has been handling the recent surge in Covid-19 cases.

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad called it a "serious issue of concern" that while the Drug Controller submitted that Remdesivir Injection and Favipiravir Tablets were being made available to top medical shops but people were not getting them.

This remark by the Jharkhand High Court has come days after it had observed that Jharkhand was heading towards a health emergency and that the non-availability of a CT scan machine was a matter of serious concern.

U-Turn taken by the Drug Controller

The Court expressed its surprise at the U-turn taken by the Drug Controller of the State of Jharkhand regarding the availability of Remdesivir Injection.

Importantly, initially, she submitted that there was rationing of Remdesivir Injection from the Central Government, therefore supply was inadequate.

She also submitted that other medicines like Favipiravir Tablets were ordered to the respective CNFs. but there was no adequate supply from the CNFs leading to scarcity of this medicine

However, when A.S.G.I (appearing for the Union of India) apprised the Court that there was no rationing of Remdesivir Injection by the Central Government and that, in fact, no order had been placed by the State of Jharkhand for the supply of Remdesivir Injection, the Drug Controller changed her stand

In this backdrop, the Court observed,

"The Drug Controller took U-turn by making a submission that there is no such control by the Central Government with respect to Remdesivir Injection rather her submission is that order is being placed to CNFs but they are not providing adequate supply and the same is the situation with respect to Favipiravir Tablet."

Further, the Court directed her to apprise as to on what basis the statement had been made that there was rationing of Remdesivir Injection by the Central Government.

Court's other significant observations

The Court, in its order, noted that the situation was pathetic in the State of Jharkhand, due to the non-availability of beds, oxygen supported beds.

The Court also noted that even the patients are not in a situation to live in isolation in the house since they are not made available with the required medicines due to the non-supply of such medicines.

The Court was also informed that that injection like Remdesivir and tablets like Favipiravir were being black-marketed and that Doxycycline, Fluguard, Vitamin-C and Zinc tablets ere out of the market.

Importantly, the Court raised the following two issues:

  • On what basis the medicines are being supplied to top medicine shops and which are those top medicine shops and if according to the State, some of top medicine shops are being supplied such medicines whether the list of it has been circulated to the public in general so that they could be able to purchase the same from the said so-called top medicine shops.
  • Why there is only supply to top medicine shops and why not the adequate supply to all medical shops so that people may get adequate medicine for their treatment from every corner of the State, even residing in isolation.

Directions issued by the Court

Significantly, noting that the State of Jharkhand had not taken any sincere effort to procure the adequate supply of essential medicines, the Court passed following directions:

  • The State Authorities to bring on record, by way of filing an affidavit, as to what steps have been taken up to 17th April, 2021 to secure adequate supply of Remdesivir Injection to combat the situation of Covid-19 Pandemic, as also what steps have been taken for the adequate supply of Favipiravir Tablets.
  • The Drug Controller shall bring on record up-to date details of supply of Remdesivir Injection and Favipiravir Tablet to the medicine shops/hospitals, supported by relevant documents.
  • Whether the name of shops had been notified for people in general, by publishing in Daily Newspaper, to know as to in which medicine shops the medicines like Remdesivir Injection and Favipiravir Tablet have been notified. If yes, furnish its details, and if no then why?
  • The Principal Secretary, Department of Health, Medical Education and Family Welfare, Govt. of Jharkhand as also the Drug Controller of the State of Jharkhand shall ensure adequate supply of Remdesivir Injection and Favipiravir Tablet, and also other medicines like Doxycycline, Flugaurd, VitaminC and Zinc tablets; as also adequate supply of Oxygen forthwith.
  • What steps have been taken to put check black marketing of these medicines at the time of scarcity of such medicines and what steps will be taken to put a check on black-marketing of such medicines?
  • What are the parameters to decide as to which medicine shop will be provided with said medicines?
  • The Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi and of other districts, are directed to monitor the rate of CT-Scan and other pathological tests, which is being charged by Private Hospitals in order to put check in charging exorbitant rates, by reflecting the rates in the daily newspaper.
  • They are further directed to make arrangement for entertaining complaint in this regard to deal with the issue by taking immediate steps.
  • The Principal Secretary, Department of Health, Medical Education and Family Welfare, Govt. of Jharkhand is further directed to monitor the steps taken by Deputy Commissioner(s) in this regard.

"State Heading Towards Health Emergency, Non-Availability Of CT Scan Machine A Matter Of Serious Concern": Jharkhand HC Seeks Response Of State Authorities

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