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Coronavirus | Supreme Court to seek government response on plea on COVID-19 drugs

A medical personnel holds a swab Rapid Antigen test for COVID-19 in Srinagar. File   | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

The Supreme Court on Thursday decided to alert the government and get its response on a plea about the uncertified use of Remdesivir and Favipiravir as COVID-19 drugs.

Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde, advocate M.L. Sharma drew the court’s attention to a report issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in October warning that both the drugs have not been officially declared an antidote for the virus.

Also read: FDA approves expanded emergency use of remdesivir in moderate COVID-19 patients

Chief Justice Bobde said the court will issue notice to the government to make the latter aware of the development.

Mr. Sharma, in his petition, sought a CBI investigation on how 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.

He has sought prosecution of Indian companies selling them under the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

He said companies were manufacturing and selling them at very high rates in India and people were paying “due to the fear of COVID-19 infection”. This amounted to the “exploitation of the public”.

Also read: Repurposed drugs did not cut down mortality, says WHO

Mr. Sharma pointed out that the process is on to import a vaccine. “The Prime Minister has already initiated process with Russia to import COVID-19 vaccine to manufacture/distribute in India through PSU Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Corporation Limited (BIBCOL),” the petition said.

Remdesivir was introduced by Gilead Science Inc. USA to treat the Ebola virus in Africa but it was not effective to treat it as well, it said.

Favipiravir was developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical and was actually approved to treat influenza. 

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 2:07:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-seeks-centres-reply-on-plea-alleging-no-approval-for-remdesivir-favipiravir-to-treat-covid-19/article32971228.ece

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