The Centre has been asked to report on June 25 to explain why the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has tied up with only Dr Reddy’s Laboratory in Hyderabad to develop the 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), a drug for Covid-19 treatment. The Madras Court on Thursday told the Centre to respond as to why the DRDO has not issued licences to other reputed labs to augment production of the oral drug since studies have shown that it is effective against all Covid-19 variants.
According to a Hindustan Times report, apart from DRDO, the Mardas high court has also sought a response from the ministry of defence and the Union health ministry.
The bench headed by jusitces N Kirubakaran and T V Thamilsevli, they issued the interim direction based on a public interest litigation (PIL) that contended that a monopoly over this drug would not be wise when lakhs of lives were being lost in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The PIL has been filed by petitioner, D Saravanan from Chennai in which he stated that it was ‘shocking’ that the licence for manufacturing was granted only to Dr Reddy’s after the Drug Controller General of India had authorised the 2-DG drug for emergency use as adjunct therapy for moderate to severely affected patients. He further insisted that it should be manufactured on war-footing.
The petition has also sought to urge DRDO to share the technical know-how for the production of the drug, the licence to be granted to multiple pharmaceutical companies, and to ensure that the pricing is affordable.
The DRDO has planned it to price at Rs 990 per sachet which includes 2.34 grams. The drug comes in a powder form packed in a sachet.
The first batch of the drug was released by union defence minister Rajnath Singh and health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan in May.