Mumbai: The Maharashtra Lokayukta has given a clean chit to the BMC from committing any irregularities or non-transparency into the alleged Remdesivir scam in 2020-21.
Simultaneously, the Lokayutka, Justice VM Kanade, has urged the State Government to enact suitable legislation to ensure availability of life-saving drugs at reasonable prices to the masses and prevent misuse by way of black-marketing.
Devise a proper action plan: Justice Kanade
Justice Kanade said that during the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no effective machinery to direct private manufacturers to sell lifesaving drugs at particular fixed prices.
“The state of Maharashtra ought to have brought a legislation or ordinance directing the manufacturers to make the supply of lifesaving drugs available at a reasonable rate. If the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, do not give powers to the government, a suitable amendment has to be made to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897,” the Lokayukta observed.
Justice Kanade said it’s common knowledge that whenever demand goes up, and it cannot be matched with the supply of lifesaving drugs, medicines are sold in the black market by anti-social elements.
“The Maharashtra Government, therefore, shall devise a proper action plan by issuing necessary notification, regulation and pass appropriate Act to curtail this menace so that if such a situation arises in future, the government is equipped with adequate powers to ensure proper supply of lifesaving drugs,” said the Lokayukta.
On similar lines, the BMC and other civic bodies should also take a policy decision and ensure that lifesaving drugs supplied to them do not fall in wrong hands and are used for the purpose of treatment of those suffering from diseases.
As for the complaint alleging corruption in the procurement of Remdesivir injections, the Lokayukta said it has not been “established and proved” that there was any corruption in the purchase of the lifesaving injections by the respondent (BMC).
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