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Saturday, October 31, 2020

High Court seeks Maharashtra govt’s response over PIL on Covid-19 drugs 

The PIL said that since important medicines required to treat critical Covid-19 patients are available only with six suppliers in Mumbai, many patients are deprived or availing treatment.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai | Updated: September 18, 2020 4:21:06 pm
Medicines at a keyboard’s clickThe PMC has also appointed a private agency to process medical claims and bills under the state government scheme for patients seeking treatment at civic hospitals. (Express photo by Partha Paul/Representational)

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit in reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking that the medicines required for Covid-19 treatment be directly delivered to Covid-19 hospitals and quarantine centres and be made available to patients admitted at such facilities.

A division bench of Justice K K Tated and N R Borkar was hearing a PIL filed by Jayesh Mirani, president of NGO All Maharashtra Human Rights Welfare Association through advocate Prashant Pandey.

The PIL said that since important medicines required to treat critical Covid-19 patients are available only with six suppliers in Mumbai, many patients are deprived or availing treatment.

“Patient’s relatives or caregivers need to procure the medicines and have to pay more than the maximum retail price on many occasions. If the drugs were instead made available at Covid-19 treatment facilities, much time would be saved and immediate care can be given to the patients through doctors and hospital staff,” advocate Pandey submitted.

Pandey said that people are made to pay exorbitant prices for medicines such as Remdesivir, which has MRP of Rs. 3000 is being sold in black market for nearly Rs. 30, 000 and it was required that the drugs are made available directly at Covid-19 care centres.

Pandey further said that while Maharashtra was worst affected in view of Covid-19 cases and subsequent deaths, the state authorities did not place orders for these medicines approved for sale in India in June, this year. Due to this, a large chunk of doses have gone to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Assam along with private hospitals, which had placed orders for these medicines in advance, Pandey said.

The plea sought direction to the state government to make medicines used to treat Covid-19 patients, including Remdesivir 100, Actemra 400 injections and FabiFlu tablets available at government and private hospitals treating Covid-19 patients and also at medical stores.

Government Pleader Purnima H Kantharia said that one of the prayers made by the petitioner was to make medicines available over the counter and it needs to be seen if the same was feasible and permissible. Kantharia sought time to take instructions and to file an affidavit in reply to the PIL.

After hearing submissions, the Court directed the state government to file its affidavit in reply by October 2 and posted further hearing to October 6.

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