The Union government informed the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that antifungal drugs for the treatment of mucormycosis or black fungus had been allocated to states on a need-based system and that there was no discrimination against any state, including Maharashtra.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh told the court that the Center regularly provides antifungal medication in Maharashtra.
While amphotericin B, the drug used to treat mucormycosis, was in short supply, the Union government has done its best to meet the demands made by all state governments, he said.
“No one can dispute that we are allocating based on the availability of drugs in the country and the demands made by states,” said ASG Singh.
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âWe (Union of India) are making every effort to ensure that the drug is available in sufficient quantity. A task force is set up, the SC also ensures follow-up. We have licensed six pharmaceutical companies to import the latest and most potent variant of amphotericin B from a US-based company, âhe said.
Singh was responding to a previous question posed by the High Court on whether the Center’s allocation of anti-mucormycosis drugs in Maharashtra and other states was based on a “fair distribution” system.
The tribunal was hearing a bunch of public interest litigation (PIL) over resource management related to the Covid-19 situation and the Maharashtra government’s readiness to deal with the third wave of the pandemic.
ASG told the court that the Center has delivered around 15,000 vials of amphotericin B to Maharashtra daily in recent months, and a total of 6,70,000 vials of the drug have been allocated across India, out of 1,40,260 vials. allocated to Maharashtra since the second wave of the pandemic.
Attorney General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who appeared for Maharashtra, said the state currently needs more than 17,500 vials of the drug per day.
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Kumbhakoni said that, according to records up to June 15, there were 7,511 active cases of mucormycosis in the state and that at least 75 patients had died from the fungal infection in the state during the last week.
The GA further said the state was producing amphotericin B in-house in association with pharmaceutical company Haffkine Bio and expects to receive 40,000 vials of the drug between June 18 and June 30.
Production was originally scheduled to end on June 10, but had been delayed due to “sterilization” issues, he said.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation attorney, Senior Counsel Anil Sakhre, told the court that there are 282 active cases of mucormycosis in Mumbai.
The High Court ordered both the Union and Maharashtra governments to file their respective affidavits on the submissions made at the hearing. He will hear more of the plea on June 25.