Frame policy for Remdesivir distribution: HC to Guj govt

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court has asked the state government to formulate a policy for the distribution of Remdesivir injections to hospitals in view of the high demand of the key anti-COVID-19 drug.

The hearing on a PIL taken up suo motu (on its own) on the COVID-19 situation was conducted by the HC via video conference on April 20 and a detailed order was made available on Thursday.

At present, Remdesivir injections are used "in the order of preference which apparently is need-based and in priority of hospital", the high court said in its order. During the previous hearing, the state government said Remdesivir is first administered to patients who are on ventilators in the state-run hospitals, then to patients on ventilators in private hospitals, followed by patients in ICUs in state hospitals and to those in private facilities and thereafter, to those on oxygen beds. To this, a bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav Karia asked the government to come up with a uniform policy applicable across the state.

"There has to be a reasonable policy of the State to ensure that all patients falling in the same category should be first provided with Remdesivir injection, i.e. the patients on ventilators whether they are in private or government facility, then it should be provided to those in ICUs in private or state-run hospitals," said the order.

The bench said the state government must convene an emergency meeting of all stake-holders and formulate a policy for the distribution of Remdesivir.

"The distribution may be at the level of the Commissioner or Collector, but the policy to be followed must be framed by the State," the bench said.

The court also noted that as against the demand for Remdesivir raised by the designated COVID-19 hospitals, only "partial supply is made".

The HC also expressed concern over the system adopted by the '108' ambulance service in picking up COVID-19 patients.

There are some complaints that a patient's serious condition is nota criteria for giving preference and patients are being picked up on first-come-first-serve basis by '108' ambulances, the bench noted. The court also stressed on the need to educate and sensitise people about the pandemicto "break the chain" and to flatten the curve of the viral infection.

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