Updated: April 22, 2021 2:23:36 am
The Gujarat High Court, in an order dated April 20, noted the state should reconsider the existing policy on allocation of Remdesivir and suggested the principal health secretary “must convene an emergent meeting of all stakeholders and take an appropriate policy decision which should run throughout the state” instead of a policy that permits district-level discretion. The court’ made the observations while hearing a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) on the uncontrolled surge of Covid-19 in the state.
The state had on April 20 submitted, during the hearing and in its affidavit, that Remdesivir injection made available to the state would be utilised in order of preference as listed by it “which apparently is need-based and in priority of the category of hospitals”.
The present state policy permits the government’s stock of Remdesivir vials is first administered to the patients on ventilators in the government or corporation-run hospitals, then to patients on ventilators in the designated Covid-19 hospitals, before the patients admitted at Intensive Care Units in government or corporation-run hospitals and those at Covid-19 designated hospitals. Thereafter, it can be administered to the patients admitted on oxygen beds subject to their prognosis.
If further stock remains with the government or corporation, it could be distributed among the private hospitals, nursing homes, home care patients on doctor’s prescription considering the condition of the patient. However, if the government does not have any surplus or if it is unable to cater to its own in-house demand, it cannot provide to the private sector.
Taking into consideration the submissions made by Gujarat High Court Advocates Association and Indian Medical Association’s Gujarat chapter — both stated the state must supply Remdesivir injection to the private sector, the court too noted: “The policy should be of the government and should not be left at the discretion of the individual corporation and district collectors regarding distribution of Remdesivir injection when the same is in short supply. There has to be a reasonable policy of the state, taking into consideration the overall factors and to ensure that all patients falling in the same category should be first administered or provided with Remdesivir injection… (regardless of whether it is a private or a government facility).”
The court also stated that the condition of a patient should be the criteria for providing Remdesivir injection and “not whether he/she is admitted in a private or government facility”. It added that an appropriate policy decision “should run throughout the state i.e. it should be made applicable for the entire state and should not be left at the discretion of municipal commissioners or collectors… The distribution may be at the level of the commissioner or collector, but the policy to be followed must be framed by the state”.
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