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The Supreme Court today disposed of a petition challenging the treatment of COVID-19 patients with Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin, with a direction to the petitioners to make a representation to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The petition filed by Dr. Kunal Saha was disposed of by the Bench of Justices NV Ramana, SK Kaul and BR Gavai.
During today's video conferencing hearing, Dr. Saha submitted that COVID-19 patients were dying as a side effect of these drugs.
However, Justice Ramana responded,
"Can a court of law say use this type of treatment? Are we experts? This plea can be taken as a representation to the ICMR. They can examine."
The petitioner went on to argue that there should be informed consent before administering these drugs for COVID-19 treatment.
"The patient has a right to know that there is a risk involved. Doctor should explain to the patient these are the risks..."
The Bench proceeded to dispose of the matter after directing Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to provide the petitioner's material to the ICMR.
The plea had sought a direction to the government to make necessary changes in the present treatment guidelines for seriously ill COVID-19 patients, which advises the use of a combination of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin.
Dr. Saha, who is President of the People for Better Treatment (PBT) has contended that the use of these drugs for COVID-19 treatment is based primarily on “anecdotal evidence” and not on “direct scientific data.”
The Supreme Court was also urged to direct the government to implement preventive steps in hospitals across India to protect the lives of COVID-19 patients who are being treated with Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin.