Will prescribe Remdesivir for COVID-19 patients only if required: PHANA

HC was hearing a complaint that some private hospitals are forcing patients to get injection from the open market

The Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (PHANA) on Thursday gave an assurance to the High Court of Karnataka that it would instruct all member-hospitals to prescribe Remdesivir injection only to COVID-19 patients who require it immediately.

PHANA president H.M. Prasanna told the court that normally hospitals procure the injection from private suppliers based on approval granted by the Drugs Controller, but, in some cases, patients or their relatives pressurise doctors to prescribe the injection so that they can procure it from outside.

He assured that instructions would be given to member-hospitals to display the information about availability of beds, contact information of nodal officers appointed by the Karnataka government, as per the court’s directions.

These assurances were given to a division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar when advocates for petitioners, who had filed PIL petitions on COVID-19 issues, alleged that some private hospitals are forcing patients to get the injection from the open market, and some are prescribing it indiscriminately or unnecessarily.

Special Counsel for the State government Vikram Huilgol told the bench that there are debates on use of Remdesivir for COVID-19 while also pointing out that the government has come across instances of indiscriminate use of this injection in private hospital while justifying its action of controlling procurement of injection by private hospitals.

As Advocate General Prabhuling K. Navadgi told him to narrate one instance where Remdesivir was administered to an advocate, Mr. Huilgol said that doctors at a leading hospital in the city asked an advocate whether he has health insurance or was paying from his pocket, and administered Remdesivir on knowing that he has health insurance.

On a query by the bench, Dr. Prasanna said that PHANA will launch in 24 hours a portal on real-time bed availability status in member-hospitals for COVID-19 patients, including the 50% beds earmarked for patients referred by the government.

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