New Delhi:
With the national capital battling the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Saturday instructed the Delhi government authorities to ensure that drugs related to COVID treatment are made available to people to check hoarding, overcharging or black marketing of such medicines, dealers should display required stocks of such drugs.

"Hoarding, overcharging or black marketing of such medicines does not take place, by prominently displaying stocks and rates of such drugs by dealers/retailers or sellers for information of people at large," he said.

In a statement issued today, the Delhi LG has further instructed that a similar order with regards to equipments and machines like Oximeters, Oxygen Cylinders/Concentrators etc, related to COVID be issued at the earliest.

Accordingly, the Delhi government has today issued an order under the aegis of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) which will be strictly enforced by the Drug Controller, DMs and DCPs who will ensure its strict compliance in letter and spirit.

It has been noticed that the COVID-19 patients are facing difficulties in procuring essential COVID-19 management drugs in time and at the prescribed rates which in turn is causing hindrance in their timely and effective treatment in NCT of Delhi, said the order. It stated that in order to facilitate the timely procurement of essential COVID-19 management drugs at prescribed rates, it is necessary to disseminate proper and reliable information in respect of availability and pricing of these drugs to general public in NCT of Delhi.

Keeping in view the aforesaid facts, it has been decided that all the authorized dealers/retailers/sellers of these drugs in NCT of Delhi should display the information relating to Stock Position and MRP of these drugs at their premises for information of the general public, stated the order.

The order directed that all authorised dealers/retailers/sellers of essential COVID-19 management drugs in the NCT of Delhi shall display the information of Stock Position and MRP of all these drugs at conspicuous places at their business premises for information of general public.

It also directed that the stock position of these drugs shall be updated by the authorised dealers/retailers/sellers four times in a day i.e. at 10 am, 2 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm respectively. The order further directed the Drugs Controller, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to ensure strict compliance of the aforesaid directions by all authorised dealers/retailers/sellers of essential COVID-19 management drugs in the NCT of Delhi.

It also directed all the District Magistrates of Delhi and their counterpart District Deputy Commissioners of Police and all authorities concerned to ensure strict compliance of this order and take strict penal action under relevant laws against those persons who are found violating the directions issued in this order. "In case any person is found violating the aforesaid directions, the defaulting person(s) Act, 2005, Section 188 of IPC, the Epidemic Act 1897, Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules shall be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of Disaster Management 1945 and other applicable laws," read the order. 

Meanwhile,the Delhi High Court said the ''deadly and highly infectious'' nature of the second wave of COVID-19 and ''unpreparedness'' of the national capital's health infrastructure forced citizens to visit hospitals in neighbouring states, and rejected the Delhi government's argument that such patients should seek medical relief from the state where they are getting treatment.

''This submission of respondent 1 (Delhi government) has been noted only to be rejected…. It is a matter of public knowledge that the deadly, highly infectious nature of the second wave of COVID-19 and the unpreparedness of the health infrastructure in the city had compelled many desperate citizens of the NCT of Delhi, like the petitioner's father, to seek admission/medical attention at hospitals in the neighbouring states,'' Justice Rekha Palli said.

The observation by the high court came during hearing of a Delhi citizen's plea seeking Liposomal Amphotericin B Injection /Amphonex-50, used in treatment of black fungus, for his father who is admitted in a hospital in Gurugram.

The Delhi government, during the hearing, told the court that since the petitioner's father was not being treated in a hospital in the national capital, he should seek the medicine from the authorities concerned in Haryana.