Friday 14th June 2024
Friday 14th June 2024
गृहपृष्ठInternationalAntiviral medicines approved to treat COVID-19 patients, says SC

Antiviral medicines approved to treat COVID-19 patients, says SC

New Delhi :  The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the central government has approved the use of Remdesivir and Fabiparivir as medicines to treat COVID-19. The top court was hearing a plea seeking registration of an FIR by the CBI, against ten Indian pharmaceutical firms for manufacturing and selling these two medicines for treating COVID-19 patients without valid licences.

Remdesivir and Favipiravir are antiviral drugs whose efficacy in treating COVID-19 patients has been a matter of debate among medical experts. A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian referred to the New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2018 and said these medicines have been permitted by the government for use in the treatment of coronavirus patients.

“You have not noticed this rule (New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules) and filed this petition. We are adjourning this matter, you see the rules and then come back,” the bench told lawyer M Sharma who had filed the PIL. Adjourning the hearing by two weeks, the bench said, “There is approval by the Government of India for Remdesivir and Fabiparivir”.

Seeking a CBI probe, Sharma had filed the PIL alleging that these two medicines have been wrongly manufactured and sold for treating COVID-19 patients without any valid licences from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation.

“That respondent no.3 to 10 are Indian pharmaceutical company who have signed partnership agreements with foreign companies that are Gilead Science Inc -USA and Fujifilm Japan, to manufacture and sale impugned drug, Remdesivir and Avagin (Favipiravir) in India. Without having a licence, they are manufacturing and selling impugned drugs as a medicine for corona in India,” the PIL alleged.

Sharma has sought prosecution of the Indian companies for offences of cheating and criminal conspiracy under the provisions of the Drug Act, 1940. The PIL said that these medicines have not been certified as medicines for Covid-19 by any country.

“They are under trial and no country, including India, has issued a licence to manufacture and sell them in the country…,” it said. The companies are manufacturing and selling them at very high rates in India and people are paying that “due to the fear of COVID-19 infection” and dying as a result, it said.

More than 300 doctors have died in hospitals where these two medicines have been supplied and it has amounted to the”exploitation of the public” due to the fear of death. Remdesivir had been introduced by Gilead Science Inc. USA to treat Ebola Virus in Africa but it was not effective to treat the virus.

Favipiravir had been developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical and had been approved to treat Influenza . The PIL has made the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation as parties.

It has also made 10 pharmaceutical companies, including Cipla Ltd, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, Hetero Labs Ltd and Zydus Cadila Healthcare Ltd as parties. Stressing that there were no effective medicines to contain the pandemic, the plea said, “the Prime Minister has already initiated a process with Russia to import a COVID-19 vaccine to manufacture/distribute in India through PSU Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Corporation Limited (BIBCOL).

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