india

‘Organised loot’: PIL in Bombay HC seeks uniform rate for Covid vaccines

The plea also sought from the Court to set aside the prices declared by Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech for state government and private hospitals and prohibit them from selling at Rs 150 per vial pending hearing.

A city-based lawyer and three law students moved the Bombay High Court on Wednesday seeking directions to Covid vaccine makers to sell the doses at an uniform rate.

Alleging discrimination over the differential pricing in vaccines for Centre, state and private hospitals, the litigants said in their plea: “Pharma giants are milking the fear psychosis of increased death rates due to COVID – 19 disease.”

The petition sought directions to the Central government to acquire entire supply and control vaccine prices.

The plea also sought from the Court to set aside the prices declared by Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech for state government and private hospitals and prohibit them from selling at Rs 150 per vial pending hearing.

The plea filed by lawyer Fayzan Khan and others through advocate Vivek Shukla alleged that the pharmaceutical companies are engaged in “organised loot” and the high court should intervene to protect the “national public health” and ensure fundamental right to equality and life under constitution are “not left to the mercy of pharmaceutical companies.”

The petitioners said they are aggrieved over the “unreasonable and discriminatory” charges levied on vaccines meant to be sold for states and private hospitals.

The petitioners contended that while the Central government has got powers under the National Disaster Management Act, it also has the responsibility to fix the costs of vaccines rather than “leaving it upon a private entity.”

“The 100% vaccination of the citizens is the only ray of hope to combat the present pandemic, it cannot be left or relaxed in the hands of greedy management of SII and black-marketers. SII is obliged to revert his obligations to the nation, if not, the sovereign government should not hesitate to use force in the national interest,” the plea read.

The PIL alleged that the cost difference will create discrimination in terms of BJP-led state governments being supplied the vaccine by Central government and the non-BJP ruling states will be forced to purchase vaccine at higher rate from the SII.

“This cannot be permitted in a pandemic-like situation of Corona pandemic. This is jeopardizing the national security, safety and integrity with which no private entity can be permitted to play,” the plea read.

The PIL also stated that leaving state governments at the mercy of vaccine producing companies would amount to leaving the health of citizens to the “vagaries of the open market” competition during a pandemic.

“Such kind of inter-state competition would only yield disaster. This would amount to playing with the health of the citizen to benefit the private players.”

It added that asking the state Governments to compete in the “open market” for vaccine procurement with the Central Government and private hospitals is unreasonable. “The Central Government is keeping an assured quota for itself. This conduct is arbitrary, discriminatory and does not fit into the definition of welfare state’s policy.”

The PIL is likely to be mentioned before HC this week.

Source: Read Full Article