The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a response from the Union government on a plea alleging that two medicines, Remdesivir and Favipiravir, are being used for the treatment of COVID-19 without approval. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde issued notice to the Centre on the plea and sought its response in four weeks.
Advocate ML Sharma, petitioner in-person, referred to the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, the World Health Organization (WHO) report of October 15 and said that nowhere these medicines are designated officially as medicines for coronavirus. The bench said that it is only going to make central government aware of it and is, therefore, issuing a notice.
On September 16, the top court had said that there was an approval by the central government on the use of Remdesivir and Favipiravir, as medicines to treat COVID-19. The top court was hearing a plea seeking registration of an FIR by the CBI against ten Indian pharmaceutical firms for manufacturing and selling these two medicines for treating COVID-19 patients allegedly without valid licences.
Remdesivir and Favipiravir are antiviral drugs and their efficacy in treating COVID-19 patients has been a matter of debate among medical experts.
About a week ago, the Maharashtra government released a list of 59 pharmacists in the state where Remdesivir, a drug used for COVID-19 treatment, will be available at Rs 2,360 per unit Principal secretary of the public health department Dr Pradeep Vyas informed district collectors and municipal commissioners about the decision in a letter.
"The medicine is administered free of cost at state- run hospitals, however, there was no cap on its price at private hospitals. (Now) The pharmaceutical shops in every district and city are designated for its supply, which will ensure smooth supply of the medicine to every patient," Vyas said in the letter.
"The Food and Drug Administration has shortlisted the pharmaceutical outlets in the state. There are five outlets in Mumbai division, 13 in Pune division, nine in Nashik, 11 in Aurangabad, 10 in Konkan, six in Nagpur and five in Amravati," the letter said.