May 29, 2021 8:23:53 am
DAYS AFTER Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane announced that the Goa government will be starting prophylaxis treatment by administering Ivermectin to all above the age of 18 in the state, irrespective of Covid-19 symptoms, the High Court of Bombay at Goa on Friday was informed that the drug was being used only for therapeutic purposes and not for prophylaxis.
A vacation bench of Justice S C Gupte and Justice M S Sonak was hearing PILs about the Covid-19 management in the state. An advocate for one of the petitioners had objected to the state government’s prescription of Ivermectin even to its healthy population, irrespective of symptoms even when the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) had not approved its use for prophylactic qualities.
Advocate General Devidas Pangam told the court that there was no such statement filed on behalf of the state government but there was a plan to start administering the drug for prophylaxis. He, however, said that it is yet to be started by the government.
Earlier, Pangam told the court that the drug was in use for over a year and he had himself been consuming it and assured the court that there had been no side effects.
Justice Gupte, however, observed that the state government cannot promote the drug as a prophylactic medicine. “As of the therapeutic use, it is nobody’s case that the medicine is not prescribed by the ICMR,” the court noted.
The court also noted that the government had decided to use it for suspected and symptomatic patients according to the affidavit submitted.
“It does not appear that as of now the state is promoting prophylactic use,” it observed. The judges, however, said that if the state decides to use Ivermectin for prophylaxis, the petitioners could approach the court and the issue will then be dealt with.
Adjourning the PILs till June 10, the court also asked the government to file an affidavit stating what steps it had taken to implement the SOPs of the Centre in the containment and management of Covid-19 in rural and peri-urban areas of the state.
Later on, Rane tweeted, “Grateful to the High Court for accepting Govt of Goa’s decision to use Ivermectin for treating Covid-19. This is a crucial step taken by the Govt on the advice of our expert team of doctors with an aim to help us in reducing the infectivity rate and control surge of Covid-19 cases.”
On Friday, the number of active Covid-10 cases in Goa was 15,326 of which 1,055 were new. The positivity rate dropped to 21 per cent on Friday from the range of about 50 per cent at the beginning of May. Thirty-two Covid-19 patients succumbed to the infection on Friday.
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