‘Do you want people to die?’: High Court on medicine rules
The Delhi high court on Wednesday said that it appeared the Union government wanted people to die, pointing out that the new protocol on use of remdesivir said that the drug was to be given only to those on oxygen support. “This is wrong. This is a complete non-application of mind. Now people who do not have oxygen will not get remdesivir either. It appears you want people to die,” justice Prathiba M Singh said after the central government submitted that under the protocol being followed now only patients on oxygen support were being given remdesivir as Covid-19 treatment.
The court also said it will consider later whether a medical committee should review if the protocols or guidelines for administering remdesivir need any modification.
The court’s observation came during a hearing on a plea by a lawyer who is suffering from Covid-19 and was able to get only three out of the six doses of remdesivir prescribed to him.
Give data on tests
Hearing a separate plea, a Delhi high court bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli asked the Delhi government to give the number of RT-PCR tests conducted in the last seven days while also asking them to specify why fewer tests were being conducted.
The bench took note of a submission made by a lawyer for one of the petitioners, who said that the testing in the city has gone down. The petitioner said the time taken for certification and testing has to be brought down where the reasons cited by the labs are either “backlog” or “push down from the government”. The court asked the Delhi government to provide the details while noting that the testing staffs of various labs are infected with Covid-19.
The bench was hearing a plea by lawyer-petitioner Rakesh Malhotra, who along with several hospitals had sought directions to the Centre and the Delhi government for better facilities and continuous supply of oxygen in the hospitals and nursing homes of the city.
Black marketing of medicines
The court also took note of the black marketing of essential medicines and remdesvir injections, and directed the Delhi government to come up with an online portal displaying live information on the supply chain of such drugs.
The bench also asked senior advocate Rahul Mehra, who represented Delhi government, to look into the suggestion if the mohalla clinics could also serve people while also examining the use of old DTC buses for the ferrying of dead bodies so that the ambulances could be used for the sick persons.
Ensuring oxygen supply
Mehra, during the hearing, informed the court that the government passed an order on Wednesday that each hospital has been linked with a refiller and also a link refiller, so that if the primary one is not available, the SOS calls of oxygen are met.
The court said that order should be widely communicated and necessary instructions should be followed by all the stakeholders.
Approve insurance claims sooner
During the proceedings, the court directed the insurance companies and third-party administrators (TPA) to ensure that time taken to grant approvals to bills was reduced to a reasonable amount as there were long queues of people outside hospitals waiting for beds during the massive surge in Covid-19 infections.