The division bench of Justices ZA Haq and Amit Borkar passed the orders in a suo-motu PIL, which it had taken up in 2020, soon after the coronavirus outbreak.
The court has directed the Collector to have a centralized portal for information on the drug's availability and its procurement. Based on the court's suggestion, the State has decided to set up an oxygen plant in the city.
Remdesivir and Tocilizubam
Amicus Curie advocate SP Bhandarkar and advocates for the intervenors pointed out how crucial anti-viral injections have simply vanished from the market, moreover, multiple vials were being procured in the same patient's name and then black marketed.
State's counsel Senior Advocate MG Bhangade said that as far as Remdesivir is concerned, there will be a centralized portal with the patient's information and doses given. He further stated that doses will be provided at dedicated covid hospital OPDs if beds are not available.
Going a step further, the court ordered that no patient should be denied the crucial drug even if he is being treated in a non- covid hospital owing to the non-availability of beds. A doctor's prescription should be enough.
The Collector of the District shall ensure that the doses of Remdesivir Injections are made available to such patients also. Such patients shall not be denied the Remdesivir Injections only on the ground that he/she has undergone treatment in a Non-Dedicated Covid-19 Hospital.
As for the Tocilizumab injection, the State informed the Court that its sale is regulated by the Central Government. It is imported by Cipla Pharmaceuticals, which has one depot in Nagpur from where it is supplied to pharmacists, it said.
The Bench has directed the agents of Cipla Pharmaceuticals at Nagpur and the pharmacists who are supplied with Tocilizumab Injections and have sold it, to furnish the details to the Joint Commissioner, Food and Drugs Administration, Nagpur immediately.
The details of the availability of Tocilizumab Injections with the pharmacists shall be made available on the centralized portal which is being started by the Collector, Nagpur.
The State represented by Senior Advocate MG Bhangade informed the bench on April 13, that it will set up an oxygen plant/factory in Nagpur. The submission was made a day after the Bench directed the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray to consider setting up an oxygen plant in Nagpur.
An oxygen producer quoted Rs. 10 crores for setting up a plant with the capacity to produce 900 oxygen cylinders a day.
In our view, it would not be difficult for the State Government to take immediate action in this regard. We also request the Hon'ble Guardian Minister of Nagpur to look into this matter and coordinate with the Hon'ble Chief Minister, the bench had observed.
Availability of beds, consider using sports stadiums, railway hospitals
The Bench has directed Nagpur's Collector to submit a report to see if beds can be made available for the needy patients at Mankapur Stadium, and Nagpur Nagrik Sahakari Rugnalaya.
We make it clear that the officer who is requested by the Collector, Nagpur for this purpose shall cooperate with the Collector, and the records/documents required by the Collector, Nagpur shall be made available to him immediately.
On a suggestion from amicus curie, regarding the under-utilization of two functional railway hospitals, complete with ventilators and oxygen supply, the bench directed ASGI U.M. Aurangabadkar to ask the railways to co-operate and coordinate with the Collector to make their hospital facilities available for needy patients.
Directions to the media – Highlighting unfortunate incidents creates panic
We further request the media and press that the unfortunate incidents should not be highlighted too much because highlighting unfortunate incidents create unnecessary panic in the citizens which results in further untoward incidents.
SUO-MOTU PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION NO. 04 OF 2020
(COURT ON ITS OWN MOTION...VS...UNION OF INDIA & OTH.)