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To avoid panic, publish advisories on availability of drugs: Bombay HC to state, Centre

It also said that the government can start a portal on availability of essential drugs for the benefit of people at large.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
April 23, 2021 1:22:35 am
Bhagwati Hospital, BMC, Covid-19 India Second Wave, coronavirus cases in Mumbai, Mumbai news, indian expressA Covid patient’s family buys an oxygen cylinder from a store in Mumbai. (Express Photo by Pradip Das)

The Bombay HC on Thursday asked the Maharashtra government and civic bodies to publish advisories making people aware of the prevailing situation and the availability of Covid-19 drugs, including Remdesivir, through print and electronic media to avoid “panic”. It also said that the government can start a portal on availability of essential drugs for the benefit of people at large.

This came after the state government and the BMC told HC they will ensure equitable distribution of life saving drugs and oxygen for treatment of Covid-19 patients. The government added that drugs will be distributed from May 1 as limited number are being manufactured.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing a PIL filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Sneha Marjadi, alleging that insufficient facilities are leading to violation of fundamental rights of the people, including right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. The court also heard a PIL filed by social activist and filmmaker Nilesh Navlakha seeking its intervention in ensuring the state gets adequate supply of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir, oxygen and ICUs, and swift penal action against black-marketeers.

As the HC was told that testing labs are overburdened, the court said it will consider giving permission to more labs to conduct RT-PCR tests. “Why is it taking so much time for Covid-19 test results to come these days?”

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, appearing for the state, submitted a detailed note about the measures undertaken by the government to address the issues raised by the petitioner. He said that while Maharashtra is producing 1,200 metric tonnes (MT) of medical grade oxygen daily and importing liquid oxygen from other states to meet its demand of 1,500 MT oxygen to treat critical Covid-19 patients, in coming weeks, the state would require 2,000 MT of oxygen daily and Centre’s assistance in procuring the same is necessary. He added that the state is using most of the available oxygen for treatment of patients and diverting a minimal amount for pharmaceutical and other allied industries. He informed that the state had received nearly 2.69 lakh units of Remdesivir from the Union government.

The HC will hear the case next on May 4.

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