COVID-19| SC refuses to pass order on petition seeking changes in the treatment guidelines; Asks ICMR to look into the matter

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, SK Kaul and BR Gavai, JJ has refused to pass any order in a petition seeking immediate changes in the treatment guidelines for seriously ill Covid-19 patients in ICU who are using combination of MCQ and AZM as the recommendation made by Canadian and American Reports. The Court said that it will not be appropriate for is to give such directions.

The petition was filed by People for Better Treatment through it’s president Dr Kunal Saha, Ohio-based Indian origin doctor. During the hearing Dr. Saha said he has not challenged the treatment line for Covid-19 per se but the use of HCQ and AZM combination has side effects and people are dying due to it.

Appearing through video conferencing, Dr. Saha said thatCO

“a serious warning about the side effects has been issued by an American heart institute, which should be considered.”

The bench said that as of now there are no medicines for the treatment of Covid-19 and doctors are trying different ways. It said

“the type of treatment guidelines to be followed is up to the doctors to decide as courts are not experts and it cannot decide what type of treatment can be prescribed.”

The bench, however, asked Dr. Saha to take his petition as representation to the ICMR, which can examine its suggestions.

Dr. Saha said he was not saying whether a particular line of treatment is correct or not, but was asking for precautions as people are dying of side effects. He said

“there should be an informed consent as a patient has a right to know that there is a risk involved in a particular line of treatment.”

He contended that the doctors should explain to the patient about the risk involved in the particular line of treatment and take his or her consent. The bench said that court cannot ask for providing particular line of treatment and asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre, to provide the petition to ICMR which shall look into the suggestions.

[People for Better Treatment v. Union of India,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 427 , order dated 30.04.2020]

(With inputs from PTI)

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