Madras HC wonders why licence for DRDO’s new anti-COVID drug given to only one company
The petitioner said giving the licence to several medical companies may bring the price down. He sought the court to direct the authorities to provide the licence to multiple pharmaceutical firms.
Published: 24th June 2021 06:13 PM | Last Updated: 24th June 2021 06:13 PM | A+A A-
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the central government to file a report by Friday explaining why only one pharmaceutical company, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, was chosen for the production of the 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) drug by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The two-member bench comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and TV Thamilselvi admitted the plea moved by D Saravanan, a resident of Chennai, and ordered the central government to file a detailed report by Friday.
According to the petitioner, DRDO’s Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) had launched the oral powder 2-DG and also obtained emergency use authorisation from the Drugs Controller General of India.
However, the licence for manufacturing the drug had been granted only to Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, which planned to sell it for a price of Rs 990 per sachet containing 2.34 grams of the oral powder.
The petitioner said that giving the licence to several medical companies might bring the price down. He sought the court to direct the authorities to provide the licence to multiple pharmaceutical companies.
The counsel for the petitioner argued that DRDO should share its expertise with multiple companies to bring down the price of the drug to treat COVID infected patients.
The bench questioned why the premier research agency DRDO did not issue licences to other reputed laboratories to increase the production capacity of the oral powder that has been approved in treating moderate to severe COVID-19 patients.
When lakhs of people died in the first two waves and also a third wave looming large, the central government should aim to boost the manufacture of the life-saving drug, observed the bench.
The court then directed the central government standing counsel to seek the response of the Ministry of Defence, DRDO and the Union Health Ministry and file a report by Friday.