During a hearing on Thursday before a division bench of the Bombay High Court of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice Girish Kulkarni, State Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni informed the bench that there was a shortage in the Remdesivir vials in the market for multiple reasons, the steep demand being a major one.
“The rich and the higher middle class is also responsible for the sudden shortage of this drug. They are purchasing plenty of these injections and stocking it as soon as they test positive,” Kumbhakoni told the bench.
Apart from this, as per the AG, the manufacturers had also reduced the production of this drug between December to February as the number of cases were low, thus the shortage.
Further, the AG said that people were panicking unnecessarily.
At this, CJ Datta said the state must widely put out advisories making people understand that Remdesivir isn’t a ‘magical drug’.
“Clearly, there is a misconception. People think this injection would save them. But you (state) have to tell them that this cannot be administered to one and all and instead, can only be given to specific patients,” CJ Datta observed.
The AG responded that only 10 per cent of Covid patients usually require this drug. “At present, we have around 6.97 lakh cases. So, we can say that around 69,000 patients would require this injection,” he submitted.
Further, the AG informed that by April 30, the Union government would be providing nearly 2.6 lakh vials. “But what should be done till then?” CJ Datta questioned, adding, “You need to ensure that there is no shortage.”
Meanwhile, the BMC, through senior counsel Anil Sakhare, said that the civic body had sufficient quantities of the drugs and even oxygen. “We have stock for around four to five days. In fact, we are helping Thane and Pune districts to meet their demand,” Sakhare submitted.