SC issues notice to Centre on plea seeking CBI probe against pharmaceutical firms

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Central government on a plea seeking registration of an FIR by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against ten Indian pharmaceutical firms for manufacturing and selling Remdesivir and Favipiravir allegedly as medicines to treat COVID-19 patients without valid licences.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde sought the response from the government and said, “we are only going to make the Union government aware about this. We are not going to judge which medicine should be prescribed for Covid patients.”

The PIL, filed by advovate ML Sharma, sought directions to restrain the use of Remdesivir and Favipiravir as medicines to treat COVID-19, saying WHO report says these two drugs had no or little effect on COVID-19 patients.

Remdesivir and Favipiravir are antiviral drugs and their efficacy in treating COVID-19 patients has been a matter of debate among medical experts.

The petition has alleged that the medicines are being manufactured and sold for treating COVID-19 patients without valid licences from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation.

Sharma has sought prosecution of the Indian companies for cheating and criminal conspiracy under the provisions of the Drug Act, 1940 and said that these medicines have not been certified as medicines for COVID-19 till date by any country.

The plea said that the companies are manufacturing and selling them at very high rates in India and people are paying that due to the fear of Covid-19 infection and are dying.

It claimed that more than 300 doctors have died in hospitals where these two medicines have been supplied and it amounted to “exploitation of the public” due to the fear of death.

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