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Resolve remdesivir shortage, control Covid among kids: Bombay High Court to Centre, state

The bench also asked authorities to inform about pediatric Covid- 19 cases in Maharashtra so far and said certain hospitals can be reserved for children in anticipation of the “third wave”, which is likely to have an impact on their health.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: May 13, 2021 1:44:56 am
The Bombay High Court (file)

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the state government to justify the increased demand for remdesivir injections, after it was informed that despite the Centre allocating additional vials as per the HC directions, there was still a shortage for the same.

The HC also questioned the Centre for its lack of preparedness in foreseeing the need for remdesivir in large quantities and said, “Remdesivir was thought of by the Union ministry of health since July 2020 as a therapy for Covid. Have we lowered our guards? We should have had procured remdesivir in sufficient quantities. Why is there a shortage? We should have been prepared to have this drug in abundance.”

The bench also asked authorities to inform about pediatric Covid- 19 cases in Maharashtra so far and said certain hospitals can be reserved for children in anticipation of the “third wave”, which is likely to have an impact on their health.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing the PILs filed by city-based lawyer Sneha Marjadi and social activist Nilesh Navlakha and others seeking proper management of Covid-19 treatment in Maharashtra and swift penal action against black marketers.

Advocate Akshay Shinde representing the state government submitted that while Maharashtra’s updated requirement was of nearly 70,000 vials per day, it had been receiving only 45,000 vials per day so far.

“If there is a difference in figures, the problem exists at root level,” the HC said and asked the Centre and the state to resolve the issue by holding video-conference meetings between their officials and inform the HC during the next hearing the steps taken to address the remdesivir shortage.

Advocate Rajesh Inamdar for petitioner said amid shortage of remdesivir, toticilizumab and other drugs in hospitals, some celebrities and politicians were helping people via social media to procure the medicines.

In reply to this, the HC said, “Why don’t you (state) appoint nodal officers assigned to film stars and politicians? We wouldn’t stand in their way. But then let this go to everyone and not a select few…”

The bench further referred to a news report pertaining to a Palghar hospital where patients were lying on the floor with no facilities being made available and said, “The report was an eye opener…We have to stop infection at threshold so that it does not spread in rural areas. We do not have those facilities in rural areas like cities. In the first wave, villages were not as much affected. But now you have to focus on villages.”

The HC posted further hearing to May 19.

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