New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to take measures to address the shortage of Amphotericin B, used for treating 'black fungus', from wherever it is available in the world.
A bench comprising Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh emphasised: "You have to get the medicine from wherever in the world. You have to take steps right now."
The High Court also asked the Centre to inform it on the steps taken to get the medicine for the treatment of mucormycosis (black fungus) which has been rising in the country and prompting to be declared as an epidemic.
The court further asked the central government to file status on the present production capacity of the medicine, details of producers licensed to produce it, enhanced capacity, and when the increased capacity can be manufactured.
The Centre's counsel assured the court that steps have been taken to import the medicine and added that some of the manufactures of the medicine have doubled their production capacity.
However, the bench noted the domestic production of the medicine is far less than what is required in India.
The bench emphasised that time and human lives are of great importance, and if there is a shortfall in the supply of the drug required for the treatment, then it would not serve the purpose. The bench told the Centre that it should import to fill the gap in the shortfall and increase the production before more people suffer from the disease.
The court's observation came on the issue of black fungus raised by advocate Rakesh Malhotra, who pointed out a shortage of medicine and rising cases in the city.
In response to this, the Central government informed the court that there are 200 black fungus cases in Delhi, and the caseload is 3 per cent of the entire nation. Against the backdrop of shortage of medicine, counsel added that available medicine is being allocated to the states as per their caseloads. For Delhi, the counsel said 3,150 vials have been allocated so far.
As the court again asked how would Centre increase the production of the medicine, counsel replied that five companies are manufacturing the drug in the country and they have been asked to increase their capacity.
However, the Delhi government counsel submitted the medicine is in shortage and there is a huge demand as the number of cases are rising, adding that 15,000 vials of 50 mg are the projected weekly demand of Delhi as of May 18.