April 19, 2021
To: either/view subscribers
Good afternoon. There has been a considerable increase (and panic) in requests for the antiviral drug Remdesivir in the country for treating serious COVID-19 patients. However, the hue and cry over the drug may not be worthwhile, as there is no clear evidence on its effectiveness. Today’s feature story highlights the importance of clear communication by health authorities regarding the drug usage, so that people don’t hoard the drug unnecessarily.
📰 FEATURE STORY
Did Devendra Fadnavis illegally purchase the Remdesivir drug?
Maharashtra’s Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis is embroiled in a controversy surrounding the hoarding of Remdesivir injections in the state. He has been accused of purchasing the injections from Daman and Diu based manufacturer and exporter Bruck Pharma.
Over the weekend, Mumbai Police detained officials of Bruck Pharma for questioning regarding the alleged hoarding of Remdesivir injections in the state. Police claimed that they were investigating the allegations that 60,000 vials of the drug were stocked in the company’s units, instead of selling them in the market. Devendra Fadnavis visited the police station where the company officials were held and questioned the police on why they were detained.
Remdesivir is being used for serious coronavirus patients as investigational therapy. Maharashtra Cabinet Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik had earlier claimed that exporters had been instructed by the central government to not sell Remdesivir to Maharashtra government. But BJP has rubbished the claims made by the minister and called it “irresponsible and baseless.”
Defence of Fadnavis:
Devendra Fadnavis accused the ruling government of playing politics and stated that the BJP had requested the central government to allow Bruck Pharma to sell Remdesivir to Maharashtra government.
He also noted that the company had all the necessary permissions from both the Maharashtra and Daman Food and Drug Administrations (FDA).
Accusations against Fadnavis:
The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra has accused Devendra Fadnavis of illegally procuring Remdesivir when such procurement can only be done by the government and not by private individuals.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Harshal Pradhan alleged that BJP had ordered Remdesivir vials from Daman and Gujarat and the party was planning to distribute the vials in Maharashtra.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Preeti Sharma Menon accused Fadnavis of lying when he stated that the company had permission from FDAs of both Maharashtra and Daman. She stated that Daman administration had not granted permission to Bruck Pharma to provide the injections to Maharashtra government.
🕵️ BEYOND ECHO CHAMBERS
For the Right:
- There’s a need to hold up a mirror to Modi govt on Covid management, and this is the picture.
For the Left:
- India is neither an authoritarian state nor a liberal democracy but is somewhere in-between.
🗳️ ELECTION WATCH
(126 constituencies – 3-phase polls)
- Candidates of the Congress-led Opposition alliance, including those from All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), who were staying in Rajasthan due to poaching fears, have returned to Assam. Although they were expected to stay put in Rajasthan till the announcement of results on May 2, the rising COVID-19 cases in Rajasthan has altered their plans.
(140 constituencies – 1-phase poll)
- The Kerala High Court has asked for a response from the state government and the Election Commission on a petition asking for the declaration of a lockdown on the day of vote counting, May 2. The petitioner pleaded that during the counting of votes, a large number of party workers and supporters may throng the counting centres which may lead to a further surge in COVID-19 cases. The case has been adjourned till April 23.
(234 constituencies – 1-phase poll)
- Official sources said that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has been admitted to a hospital today to undergo treatment for hernia. No further information is available on this development.
(294 constituencies – 8-phase polls)
- Unknown miscreants hurled bombs near the BJP camp office on BT Road, Sodepur Swadeshi Chowk, which falls under Panihati assembly segment of North 24 Parganas district. Out of five bombs that were hurled, one did not explode and was recovered by the police. BJP and TMC have traded charges due to this development, accusing each other of orchestrating the event and creating unrest.
🏴 STATE OF THE STATES
Conditional freedom (Bihar) – Rashtriya Janata Dal President and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav has been granted bail in the fodder scam case by Jharkhand High Court on Sunday. The case revolved around the illegal withdrawal of ₹3.76 crore from the Dumka treasury between December 1995 and January 1996. He was previously granted bail in three other cases related to the fodder scam. He is currently admitted in All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, and is expected to be released from jail later this week.
First mover (Jharkhand) – In a first of its kind move, former Chief Minister Shibu Soren-led Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has revealed that it has received ₹1 crore from Aditya Birla Group’s subsidiary company Hindalco Industries Limited through an electoral bond. The disclosure was made in the contribution report for FY2019-20 submitted by the party to the Election Commission. The disclosure is significant as the concept of electoral bonds has been a subject of controversy due to its role in facilitating anonymous donations to political parties.
Greedy Sellers (Karnataka) – Three persons have been arrested by the state police for allegedly hoarding and selling the antiviral drug Remdesivir. The drug was allegedly being sold for ₹10,500 per bottle, way higher than the MRP. 11 injection bottles have been seized from them.
🔢 KEY NUMBER
$3 billion – Valuation of fintech company Razorpay, after it raised $160 million in its recent Series E funding round. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, Sequoia India, Ribbit Capital and Matrix Partners invested in this round.