[COVID-19 surge] Del HC| Severe shortage of Tocilizumab injections; 500 vials would not be sufficient for large number of critical COVID-19 patients in Delhi

Delhi High Court: Taking note of the “imminent need” for drug – Tocilizumab for treating critically ill patients in Delhi, Pratibha M. Singh, J directed the Union of India to apprise it on the available stock of the said drug and has said that,

“The rationing of critical medicines in this manner, owing to lack of supplies from foreign shores and no local manufacturing, is completely unacceptable in a pandemic situation, especially when the consumers are willing to purchase the drug.”

The Court also noticed that a large number of hospitals in Delhi are currently treating COVID-19 patients, and considering that there is a severe shortage in the availability of the said drug – Tocilizumab, 500 vials being made available, would not be sufficient.

Considering the demand for the drug, which is not manufactured in India, even to those patients who are willing to pay and purchase the same, it is clear that adequate quantities are not being made available.

Hence, in order to ensure immediate availability of the drug for administration of the same to critically ill COVID-19 patients who are prescribed the same, in Delhi, the Court directed

  1. The UOI to inform as to how much further stock of Tocilizumab is available for distribution to the hospitals/medical establishments in Delhi.
  2. The UOI to also place on record the details of entities to whom approvals have been granted of Tocilizumab for manufacturing, marketing, importing or selling in India.
  3. Qua the 500 vials of Tocilizumab, which were already allocated to the GNCTD by the Union of India, the GNCTD to inform as to how much of the said stock has been consumed, and if any of the said stock is currently available for administration to any further patients who are being treated in smaller hospitals/ medical establishments, as also to the hospitals where the initial quantity of allocation could not be distributed.

The Court also directed Roche Products (India) Pvt. Ltd., it is the company dealing with the Tocilizumab injection, to inform:

a) Whether immediate quantities of the drug Tocilizumab can be obtained from any of the manufacturing units engaged in manufacture of the said drug, and made available in India, for the purpose of administration to Covid-19 patients in India?

b) The quantities of the drug Tocilizumab to be made available in India either through itself or through its licensee(s) in India on a monthly basis for the next four months.

c) What is the total quantity of this drug- Tocilizumab, that has been imported/sold in India, since March 2020 – either by the company itself or through its licensee(s) or approved importer(s) in India.

[Dharmendra Kumar Aggarwal v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 1995, order dated 05.05.2021]


 For Petitioner: Kunal Tandon, Niti Jain and Kanika Jain, Advocates

 For Respondents: Anuj Aggarwal, ASC, GNCTD with Ayushi Bansal, Advocate Anurag Ahluwalia, CGSC with Abhigyan Siddhant and Nitnem Singh Ghuman, Advocates, Ruby Singh Ahuja, Advocate

 

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