The Delhi high court on Thursday ordered the Union government to file an affidavit within three days detailing the measures it has taken to increase the development of Amphotericin-B, an antifungal medication used to treat Mucormycosis, or black fungus, a life-threatening disease that affects patients who have recovered from coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
“We are afraid that mere doubling of production may not suffice. It is not clear as to when the augmentation of production could be done in actual production. The Centre should immediately look into this aspect. A status report should be filed detailing the present production, the producers, their capacity, their enhanced capacity and by when can the enhanced capacity be put in use,” a high court bench, comprising Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh announced.
The bench also demanded that the Centre document the measures it took to import medication from other countries for use in the country. “It appears that domestic medicine supply is far insufficient to meet the demand across India,” it said.
Kirtiman Singh, the Centre’s standing counsel, said in his response, “There are five companies which are currently producing Amphotericin-B and the shortage is because the demand has increased due to the increase in demand. Also, the drug is only used in warmer countries and that too for mosquito bites.”
The two-judge bench explained that it was not challenging the Centre’s allocation. The bench told the central government that the only thing that needed to be done was to bridge the gap between demand and supply, or else more lives would be lost. To do so, the government must issue a global tender and solicit bids from all over the world.