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No nod to hike oxygen prices, govt. tells HC

The State government on Monday informed the Kerala High Court that it had not approved the increase in the price of medical oxygen being supplied to various hospitals in the State.

The government, however, added that the price for medical oxygen was fixed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) under the Union Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers.

The submissions were made by the government pleader when a writ petition by the Kerala Private Hospitals Association against the hike in the medical oxygen came up for hearing.

The government pleader submitted that the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, had written to the NPPA saying that the government could not agree to the proposal to increase the price of medical oxygen.

The petition

The association in its petition said that medical oxygen supply agencies had all on a sudden hiked the price of oxygen and started demanding reimbursement under the head of “COVID mitigating expenses” and “additional transportation and handling expenses”.

At a time when the private hospitals were struggling to provide affordable quality care to COVID-19 patients, the untimely hike in the price of medical oxygen was a bolt from the blue for the hospitals. It was nothing but black racketeering and unethical practice. The hike would hamper the uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen.

The court posted the case for hearing on June 9.

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