New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday (April 20) expressed concern over the hoarding of some essential drugs, asking the Centre to act against people who are hoarding medicines, come out with some norms. The court also expressed displeasure over the “huge wastage” of vaccines and asked the Centre to vaccinate whomsoever it can to ensure there is no wastage.
The high court expressed hope that the Central government was allocating or diverting resources and medicines, like Remdesivir, based on the needs and situation of each state, otherwise “people will have blood on their hands”.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said “We will be doomed” and cautioned against non-application of mind in allocation and diversion of resources and medicines.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma and central government standing counsel Moniika Arora told the court that medical opinion was divided on use of Remdesivir.
Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, told the court that doctors were prescribing Remdesivir and people are unable to get it from the market despite having prescriptions.
“Long and short of it is that it (Remdesivir) is in short supply,” the bench is quoted as saying by PTI. The bench further said that giving clearance for setting up units to manufacture would not yield quick results as establishing the facilities for manufacture takes time.
HC displeased over huge wastage of vaccines
The Delhi High Court expressed displeasure over the “huge wastage” of vaccines and asked the Centre to vaccinate whomsoever it can to ensure there is no wastage. The bench of Justices said according to news reports there is a daily wastage of six per cent of vaccines and till now 44 lakh vaccines out of 10 crore have been wasted, maximum in Tamil Nadu.
“This is a huge wastage. Give it to those who want it. Whomsoever you can vaccinate, please vaccinate. Whether 16 year old or 60 year old, all need vaccination. The pandemic does not discriminate,” the court told the Centre.
The court said young people are being affected more this time around, and a lot of young lives have been lost, adding if, at the end of a day, a few shots are available in a vial, then it be given to someone whether they fall in the approved categories for vaccination or not.
No gap in oxygen supply to Delhi: Centre tells HC
The Centre told the High Court today that there is no gap in oxygen supply to Delhi at present and its use has been banned for industrial purposes except for certain industries. The Centre also informed the court that it has provided Delhi government hospitals with around 1,390 ventilators.
The Ministry of Health told the high court that there has been an inordinate increase of 133 per cent in the projected medical oxygen required, as of April 20, between the initial estimate of 300 metric tonnes and the revised estimate of 700 metric tonnes submitted by Delhi.
Earlier in the day, a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli had asked the Centre whether oxygen supplied to industries can be diverted for COVID-19 patients, observing “Industries can wait. Patients cannot. Human lives are at stake.”
It said it has heard that doctors at Ganga Ram Hospital were being forced to reduce oxygen being given to COVID-19 patients admitted there as there was a scarcity of oxygen.
The ministry, in the affidavit filed through central government standing counsel Monika Arora, has also said that in order to increase the capacity of medical oxygen in Delhi, eight Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Oxygen Generation plants are being installed by the support of PM CARES Funds.
The ministry’s affidavit said, “These plants would enhance the capacity of medical oxygen by 14.4 metric tonnes.”
Notably, the observations by the bench came during the hearing of a disposed of petition related to COVID-19 tests and the high court revived it on April 19 by noting that the virus has raised its “ugly head” once again and the pandemic is raging with much greater intensity and “it is evident that the healthcare infrastructure is at the stage of imminent collapse”.
(With Agency Inputs)
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