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COVID-19: Law students write to CJI over black marketing of key drugs, oxygen

ANI | Updated: Apr 29, 2021 07:24 IST

New Delhi [India], April 29 (ANI): Requesting to pass immediate directions and orders for uniform guidelines on certain matters related to the Covid-19 pandemic, a group of law students from across India has sent a combined letter petition to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana.
The group led by Aditya Kashyap, a final year law student at National Law University (NLU), Punjab, has pleaded to the CJI to pass immediate appropriate directions against rampant black-marketing of critical medicines, and how to provide oxygen cylinders to the people in need.
"Scarcity of the life-saving drugs namely Remdesivir injections, Tocilizumab and the oxygen cylinders is a major problem being faced by the majority of ailing patients during this second wave of the pandemic in India. In the current situation, black-marketing and illegal hoarding has become rampant thereby denying accessibility to the needy and underprivileged. This has further added extra pressure on the already burdened supply chain," the letter petition said.
Furthermore, it said that there is a wastage of the confiscated items by the police officials of the essential medical supplies namely Remdesivir injections, Tocilizumab and the oxygen cylinders, from the black marketers or illegal hoarders which otherwise could be used to cure the patients in need.
"As per a report, India's drug regulator, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), and several state governments in the recent days raised concerns over the hoarding and black marketing of Remdesivir, which in some instances is being sold at over 10 times the maximum retail price," the petition said.

It stated that India is facing currently an unprecedented crisis during the second wave of COVID-19, and the pressure on the health infrastructure and the critical medicine supply chain is enormous, as well as there is widespread panic amongst citizens at large.
In these circumstances, the students wrote to the CJI to treat this representation as a letter petition and take cognizance of the same.
"On a daily basis, we have witnessed more than three lakh positive cases across the country. Given the high infectivity and increase in symptomatic cases has led to a panic situation, thereby resulting in a crisis in healthcare infrastructure in India. One of the several issues that are further worsening the situation is the non-uniform criteria for admission of patients into the hospitals across the nation," the petition said.
The petition also highlighted the problem of hospitals making RT-PCR positive report mandatory for admission and said, "In the majority of the hospitals across states, an RT-PCR positive report is being considered a mandatory requirement for being admitted into the hospitals. Due to the recent sudden spike in the number of cases, there is an additional burden on the testing labs. As a result, the RT-PCR test results are taking more than 24 hours in the majority of states and without which hospitals are not admitting patients even though they have mild to severe symptoms."
"Not just the crisis of critical care beds and oxygen, delay in RT-PCR test results is also proving to be fatal for people. Overwhelmed with samples due to the skyrocketing transmission rate, the government-supported and private labs are taking 3-5 days to give results. The situation is so pathetic that despite the severe and critical conditions, patients have been denied admission and there are news reports of death due to non-admission of patients because the person could not produce an RT-PCR report," it added.
The students said that the system must strive to strike a balance between protecting patients and preserving the healthcare system. They said that while treating any urgent or life-threatening condition without waiting for any test result is a given, people need a more rational and practical set of comprehensive guidelines. (ANI)