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SC seeks Centre’s reply on plea alleging no approval for Remdesivir, Favipiravir to treat COVID-19

NEW DELHI: TheSupreme Courton Thursday issued notices to the central government on a petition which opposed the use of “unapproved” drugs of “uncertain efficacy” such asremdesivirandfavipiravirin the government’s covid treatment protocol, but clarified that it would restrict itself to drawing the government’s attention to these issues but won’t dictate what the treatment protocol should be.

A bench led by CJI S.A. Bobde issued notices to the central government on a petition filed by lawyer Manoharlal Sharma claiming that these drugs were as yet unapproved for the treatment of Covid but were being freely sold and used despite no proven record of any efficacy in treating the disease.

Sharma cited a recent WHO report to back his claim. The WHO had earlier backed the drug in combatting the pandemic. But a recent report claimed that it had shown limited success in recent human trials. The makers of the drug though claimed that it showed potential of benefitting those affected by COVID.

The top court aware of its lack of expertise to sit in and weigh the claims and counter-claims on the sensitive medical issue, said that it would issue notices to the government to make it aware of these findings of the WHO and the claims and counter-claims.

The CJI clarified that it would not sit in judgment on the government’s covid treatment protocol or tell the government what to do.

Sharma has accused at least ten local pharma majors of producing and selling these drugs without specific approval for treatment of COVID or the necessary licenses.

“… impugned drugs are neither a vaccine nor a medicine forCovid-19 treatment. It cannot be allowed to be supplied till it is not declared as a medicine or vaccine by FDA/ Indian regulators,” his petition said.

These are unapproved and uncertified drugs, he claimed. They have not been found effective for Corona treatment and are not certified as a medicine for Corona, he claimed.

But these are being widely used to treat doctors and laymen alike affected by the disease, he argued. He also alleged that these drugs have serious side-effects.

He accused pharma companies of selling these drugs as corona medicine in India since Jun 2020. His petition argued that the state was duty bound to protect the life of a citizen and allow only effective and approved drugs without any side effects to a patient.

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