Plea in Supreme Court seeks setting up of expert body for dissemination of correct information regarding Covid Treatment

  • Ratna Singh
  • 09:05 PM, 10 May 2021

Amid the rising Coronavirus cases, a plea has been moved before Supreme Court seeking to establish an immediate machinery consisting of experts and others to disseminate correct information to people and the medical community throughout the country so that timely and correct treatment is provided to them and they are saved from using drugs which are unwarranted and sold at exorbitant price by creating scarcity.

“The said Body of Experts should continue to function till the Corona crisis continues as the virus has a tendency to mutate (change its form or nature) creating further complications. This Body should be independent and transparent, providing correct information to the people. This is now required in the National interest. People have a right to know, under Art. 19(1) (a), about the correct protocol of treatment and to protect their health and life from the deadly corona infection, under Art.21.” – stated the plea.

A National Co-convener of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, health activist and a public health expert Amulya Nidhi has preferred the present plea through Advocate on Record Abhimanue Shrestha stating that,

“… it is required to be considered by this Hon’ble Court at the earliest so that people who are facing the severity of corona virus or its mutant do not continue to remain in panic and suffer due to uncertainty and confusion regarding clinical diagnosis, treatment and hospitalization at various stages of the corona mutant. 1,69,60,172 persons have been infected so far in India which is the highest in Asia and second highest in the world. 192,311 persons have died and 26,82,751 known cases are currently active.”

The petitioner in her plea narrated the plight of people on the ground in order to ensure that, if proper information is available in public domain, they would be able to take all necessary steps in time and would not be subjected to unnecessary costly treatment.

“there is confusion at each stage of the Covid 19 treatment, i.e., from diagnosis, to clinical treatment and hospitalization. Social media is full of information/mis-information regarding Covid treatment as well as use and efficacy of the drugs. News articles by experts approve or disapprove certain practices and use of drugs. In one article it was alleged that some kind of “jugad” treatment is going on in India. Even in TV debates the differing views are seen. The Petitioner submits that this is happening because the government has not informed the public through its expert agencies as to what is the correct position regarding diagnosis and treatment of Covid 19.”- Excerpt from the plea.

The petitioner further stated that, there is confusion at each stage of the Covid 19 treatment, i.e., from diagnosis, to clinical treatment and hospitalization, which is explained in the Petition. Some common confusions prevailing in the country are due to different advices coming from the doctors, institutions, articles etc. Also, the Doctors are following their own way of treatment in the country. However, AIIMS has clarified its position about the use of Remdesivir.

Some of the pertinent questions that arised are:

1. Whether RT-PCR is sufficient or should it be accompanied by other tests?

2. At what stage, if at all, CT Scan is necessary?

3. Standard treatment procedure of which medical Institute should be followed?

4. What is the standard protocol for drug administration?

5. Why are doctors prescribing Remdesivir despite negative global view?

6. Whether Remdesivir and Fevipiravir have any confirmed efficacy or not?

7. If yes, in what situations?

8. What are these medicines and what is there use in covid treatment?

9. At what stage of oxygen drop should a patient be hospitalized?

 The confusion is evident from/ has been noted by the following-

1. International medical journals and health-expert’s observations;

2. Conflicting Directives from Indian Health & Medical Institutions & colleges;

3. Practices which differ from Guidance of International Health organizations;

4. Practices which differ from Guidelines of other countries;

5. Differing treatment procedures prescribed by Doctors/Hospitals;

6. News articles by health experts approve or disapprove certain practices;

7. Social media information/mis-information regarding covid treatment;

8. Changing stand of the Government of India on efficacy of drugs;

9. TV debates with experts showing differing views;

10. General news articles in Indian newspapers.

The Petitioner further submitted that this is happening because the government has not from time to time clarified/amended standard Clinical Guidelines for Covid treatment which would address all aspects of the matter by taking into consideration the knowledge being available about certain drugs and their impact on people financially as well as on their health. It has not informed the public through its expert agencies as to what is the correct position regarding diagnosis and treatment of Covid 19 mutant.

“The recent Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health are essentially a one page flow-chart which is wholly inadequate to eliminate or lessen confusion. Pertinently, the Hon’ble Gujarat High Court has recently taken suo motu cognizance of a similar matter and ordered that the State of Gujarat should prepare and widely publicize Standard procedures on treatment of Covid-19. Standard Clinical Guidelines which adequately address all issues are urgently needed in the public domain for several reasons which are mentioned in the detailed grounds in the petition.” – Excerpt from the plea.

The plea was listed today before the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, LN Rao & SR Bhatt but since SC’s server was down, they have been adjourned for Thursday.

Case title - Amulya Nidhi v Union Of India