The Karnataka government issued notices to pharmaceutical companies Cipla and Jubilant on Tuesday for their failure to supply the quantity of Remdesivir allocated to the state by the Union government. The notices stated that the supply of Remdesivir was regulated by the Union government in an order dated April 21 and the companies had failed to supply the allocated quantity.
Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that is being used to treat COVID-19 patients at hospitals. The drug is said to help in reducing the duration of admission for a COVID-19 patient if administered at early stages, in certain cases.
According to the notice to Jubilant, the company had to supply 32,000 vials of Remdesivir by May 9 as per a Union government order dated May 1. The company however, had only supplied 17,601 vials by May 8 to the state government. In a similar notice to Cipla, it was mentioned that according to the allocation by the Union government, the company had to supply 30,000 vials of the antiviral drug to Karnataka. However, only 10,840 vials of Remdesivir were supplied to the state government.
The notices read, “…the non-supply of the committed number of Remdesivir vials to the state has constrained the state’s capacity to provide timely and effective treatment to infected persons, thus endangering the lives of patients. This action is in contravention to the directions of the Government of India.”
The notices further directed both the companies to immediately fulfil the supply obligation of Remdesivir vials within 24 hours of receiving them. They also directed the companies to meet day to day supply quantity commitments of Remdesivir, as allotted by the Union government to the state.
The state government warned that non-compliance of these directions by the pharmaceutical companies would make them liable for proceedings under section 58 (Offence by companies) and 60 (Cognisance of offences) of Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).