Report Remdesivir output to State government, Bombay Hight Court tells pharma units

Nagpur Bench flags shortage of supplies to COVID-affected districts; asks FDA to share figures on its website

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Sunday directed pharmaceutical companies to send their figures of Remdesivir production to the State nodal officer and Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and upload the same on their website, warning of criminal prosecution if this was not followed.

A division bench of justices S.B. Shukre and A.G. Gharote was hearing suo motu a public interest litigation petition on the shortage of medicines, oxygen, beds and other essentials for COVID-19 in Nagpur and other adjoining areas.

State nodal officer Vijay Waghmare informed the court that Nagpur had received 20,000 vials of Remdesivir after the court’s direction. The court, however, said it needed to ensure a steady supply and remarked that there is some issue at the level of pharma companies. Mr Waghmare agreed and said the companies are not honouring their commitment though the State government was in touch with them.

The bench then directed pharma companies to first supply vials of Remdesivir to the State government and district authorities before providing it to private companies. The bench remarked, “If the companies fail to abide by this direction, they will be jeopardizing precious lives.”

The bench also noted that Remdesivir vials sent to different districts of Maharashtra was far lower than the demand. The court said, “There has been a reduction in providing Remdesivir which is not aligned to the reduction of number of cases in those districts” and requested the Centre to reconsider the allocation of the medicine as per the number of cases.

The bench went on to direct the State FDA to upload the weekly production, distribution and supply of Remdesivir received from companies on their website along with the backlog on a daily basis.

The court said this system will be in operation till there is a centralised system, highlighting that under the present system various departments place separate orders, as do individual private hospitals.

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