Nagpur doesn’t get Remdesivir: Bombay HC seeks details on distribution
Even with more than 78,000 active Covid cases, Nagpur district did not receive any Remdesivir on Wednesday while, Jalna, state health minister Rajesh Tope’s home district, received 30,000 vials of the antiviral drug. The district has 7,800 active cases. These figures were presented before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday, following which the bench directed the nodal officer to place on record district-wise allocation of Remdesivir and the formula adopted to determine the entitlement of each district.
“In case he finds that more number of vials than what should have been sent to a particular district have been sent, the nodal officer shall withdraw the same from that district proportionately and send them to the districts which have been unjustly and unequally deprived of these vials, and this would include Nagpur as well,” the HC said while seeking compliance by Friday afternoon.
A division bench consisting justice Sunil Shukre and justice Avinash Gharote, while hearing a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) on Covid mismanagement, asked the nodal officer (Food and Drugs Administration joint commissioner Ganesh Rokde) to place on record corrective action and effective steps taken to remove this step-motherly treatment.
The Centre had allotted 269,000 Remdesivir vials for Maharashtra for April 21-30 and the quota was enhanced to 435,000 on April 24. Considering active cases, Nagpur district should have received 49,177 vials during the period, but got only a fraction of it, pointed out amicus curiae Shreerang Bhandarkar, and Indian Medical Association’s counsel Advocate Bhanudas Kulkarni. Meanwhile, Jalna district received 30,000 vials of Remdesivir from one or two pharmaceutical companies, they said.
On couple of days including April 28 Nagpur district received no vials making situation quite precarious, informed advocate Tushar Mandlekar.
When the state, through in-charge government pleader Ketaki Joshi, sought some time to furnish the detailed affidavit pursuant to last order, the HC sought to know whether any district-wise allotment order was passed by the nodal officer to ensure fair and equitable distribution of Remdesivir.
The state said the nodal officer has not passed any such order and added that there was no need for the same, promising to justify this position on Friday.
The court then asked the state and the nodal officer to explain how Remdesivir was being distributed, and list backlog of vials from Pharmaceutical companies and steps taken pursuant to allotment of quota by the central committee to procure the quantity from seven pharmaceutical companies by Friday.