FPJ Legal: Bombay HC raps FDA over Remdesivir supply to Vidarbha, says ‘sorry state of affairs’

Mumbai: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday rapped the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for not being able to make a statement when inquired by the court, on whether pharmaceutical companies that are supposed to supply drug Remdesivir to Vidarbha region, are supplying as per quota.

A division bench of Justice Sunil B. Shukre and Justice Avinash G. Gharote was hearing a suo moto PIL on the handling of the COVID-19 situation in Nagpur and Vidarbha regions.

The bench inquired with the FDA whether the seven pharma companies are finishing their quota of supply as it has been given the understanding that each of these has supplied the drug to the Vidarbha region as per the quota of supply up to May 9.

When the representative for the FDA was unable to make a submission in this regard, the bench asked, “You are not aware? You should have all these figures on your fingertips.” It asked the agency what the point is of uploading the data on its website everyday if it is unable to make a statement in court.

The bench remarked, “They should have this information. One doesn’t know why they are playing hide and seek if data is uploaded everyday on the website.”

Justice Gharote remarked that the agency is ‘total blank’ on the matter. On being queried till what date the updating has been done, it was informed by the FDA representative that it is updated till 4 May. On being asked further what the situation till 4 May is, the representative could not make a statement and the court said, “Very very sorry state of affairs. Daily if the data is uploaded on your website, then it is a click of a button. If you are not aware, then imagine the plight of the common man. He will be at a loss to understand what the figures are.”

Advocates representing pharmaceutical companies then made submissions that they have made the due compliance of supplies till 9 May, except one which said it is due to supply over 6,700 of them around 80,000 Remdesivir vials and would be doing so by 16 May.

The bench then directed that the FDA should confirm and inform it accordingly if the pharmaceutical companies have indeed complied.

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