The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a response from the Centre on a plea alleging the use of drugs Remdesivir and Favipiravir for Covid-19 treatment without approval.
The court also took into account a World Health Organization report, indicating that Remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on in the treatment of Covid-19.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said it was a serious matter and issued notice to the Union government on a PIL by advocate M L Sharma.
The petitioner, relying upon the WHO report published on October 15, submitted that several hundred trials have been carried out with Remdesivir and it was found that this medicine has little or no effect in the treatment of Covid-19.
Remdesivir and Favipiravir are antiviral drugs and their efficacy in the treatment of Covid-19 patients is still under debate among medical experts.
According to the WHO report, “Interim results from the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial, coordinated by the World Health Organization, indicate that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of Covid-19 among hospitalised patients.”
Sharma said that nowhere these medicines have been officially termed successful in the cure of Covid-19 disease.
He contended the drugs were neither a vaccine nor a medicine for Covid-19 treatment, and could not be allowed to be supplied till it was declared so by regulatory authorities.
The petitioner added the drugs were only allowed to be tested during emergencies.
The WHO report said that the study was carried out in more than 30 countries, looked at the effects of these treatments on overall mortality, initiation of ventilation, and duration of hospital stay in hospitalized patients.
On September 16, the court had noted that there was an approval by the Centre on the use of Remdesivir and Favipiravir, as medicines in the treatment of Covid-19.
The petitioner sought registration of an FIR by the CBI against ten Indian pharmaceutical firms for manufacturing and selling these two medicines allegedly without valid licenses.