Bombay HC directs state to release 10,000 vials of the Covid-19 drug to Nagpur hospitals

The court also observed in its order on Wednesday that despite its order on Monday to procure medicine, the authorities have failed to do so and they have given several contradictory reasons. “We also find that these Officers have now started to shirk their responsibilities in giving succour and relief to Covid-19 patients,” observed the court.

Nagpur: The Bombay high court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to supply at least 10,000 vials of Remdesivir to Nagpur city immediately, as well as ensure its fair and equitable distribution to dedicated Covid-19 hospitals through their in-house pharma units.

As Remdesivir was not supplied on Sunday, and only 400 vials were supplied on Saturday to merely three hospitals, the Nagpur bench of HC on Monday afternoon directed its urgent supply to facilities in the city, while describing the situation as “very alarming” amid the steepest-ever rise in the number of Covid-19 patients.

HC refused to accept the apparent “discriminatory and step-motherly” treatment to Nagpur patients who received insufficient quantity of Remdesivir as compared to those in districts like Thane and directed the immediate supply of the much-needed drug to the city by Monday night itself.

Passing this important order, a division bench consisting of justice Sunil Shukre and justice SM Modak reminded the state of its “solemn obligation and constitutional duty to protect precious human life”.

“There has been a disparity in the distribution of Remdesivir to various districts, and this life-saving injection is not being released in proportion to the requirements,” HC tersely observed.

About the ongoing blame-game between the Maharashtra government and Centre over the supply of Remdesivir, the court directed the two authorities to place on record the details about the demand raised by the state and response of the Centre to facilitate its procurement.

“Considering the patient load in Maharashtra, the state needs more quantity of Remdesivir, oxygen and other life-saving drugs,” the bench further stated.

Amicus curiae (friend of court) Shreerang Bhandarkar and counsels for the interveners, Tushar Mandlekar and M Anil Kumar, informed HC that the Thane collector had allocated 5,328 vials for 2,664 patients, which is two Remdesivir injections for one patient, while at Nagpur, there was an allocation of 3,326 vials for 8,215 patients. As per protocol, six vials are required for the patients, including two vials on the first day, they stated, while demanding immediate respite to the patients who are already admitted. Besides, supply should be more for cities like Nagpur where spike is more. The amicus blamed the state for not paying the drug-manufacturing companies and cited it as a major reason for low supply.

However the state, on behalf of its lawyers, vehemently denied the allegation and maintained that it was doing its best to procure life-saving drugs.

About the oxygen shortage, HC directed the district collector and municipal commissioner to grant immediate permission to private hospitals which are ready to install oxygen-generating plants using air separation technique.

The court also directed to make available 500 sq ft space required by some of these hospitals to install oxygen plants on payment at market value, if they apply for permission to use the adjoining place belonging to the state government or local authority.

On the plight of the Covid-19 patients waiting outside Government Medical College and Hospital, Nagpur, and other hospitals, the court directed the municipal corporation and district administration to set up temporary healthcare facilities for such patients and use the district mining and district planning committee (DPC) funds with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, as many as 6,364 fresh Covid-19 cases were reported on Monday in Nagpur district while 113 deaths were recorded, the highest single day deaths since the pandemic broke out last year.