The Bombay High Court has expressed concern over the number of celebrities and politicians distributing Covid-related medicines and aid to those in need. The court asked who will guarantee the quality of these Covid drugs.
“We are concerned about the lives of our citizens. There cannot be any mileage, popularity or any other kind of mileage from this. We are deeply pained if needy patients are being deprived of it. This is a sorry state of affairs,” Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni of the Bombay High Court said while going through the notes submitted by the Maharashtra government on celebrities and politicians procuring Covid-19 medicines for the needy.
The note said that the government had served show-cause notices (on procuring Covid-19 relief materials) to Mumbai Congress MLA Zeeshan Siddique and the Sood Charity Foundation (actor Sonu Sood’s NGO), but was yet to receive their replies. Hearing this, the high court said, “We aren’t impressed. By now you should have had recorded their (celebrities) statements. They don’t have any license.”
During a previous hearing, the bench was told by Advocate Rajesh Inamdar that patients approached Bollywood celebrities and politicians through Twitter when they failed to get medicines. The court had asked the Maharashtra government as well as the central government to say how investigational drugs like remdesivir and tocilizubam are being procured and distributed by politicians and celebrities while the state continues to complain about a shortage in supply.
Inamdar showed several tweets of Sonu Sood and Congress MLA Zeeshan Siddiqui distributing remdesivir vials within hours of such pleas. He also added that this was just the tip of the iceberg as there were many others doing this.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh appearing for the central government said that they will file a report on the issue but had not done so as procurement and distribution of remdesivir and medical oxygen, among other items, were the prerogative of a state and the Centre merely allocated such resources to states based on the latter’s demands.
“Who will guarantee that drugs being given by these personalities are of proper quality,” asked the court and further added that for these medicines, “Allocation is by Union, the collection is by state, where is the window of collection by these personalities? That is our anxiety.”
Both Centre and state have been given one week’s time to file a report.