PIL seeks uniform price for vaccines by SII, Bharat Biotech
Mumbai: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay High Court challenging the different rates for COVID-19 vaccines for the Centre and state governments and requesting direction to the Serum Institute of India (SSI) and Bharat Biotech to sell their vaccines at a uniform rate of Rs 150 per dose.
The PIL, filed on April 24 by advocate Fayzan Khan and three law students, said the vaccine is presumed to be an essential commodity and hence its management and distribution cannot be left in the hands of private companies.
"These pharma giants are milking the fear psychosis of the increased death rates due to COVID-19," it said.
Under the third phase of the national vaccination drive commencing next month, the vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the central government and would be free to supply the remaining 50 per cent doses to state governments and in the open market, the government had said. "In a situation where the entire country is gripped with the COVID-19 pandemic, price control by the government is a must and such kind of loot and blackmail should not be permitted," it said.
The PIL also questioned the propriety of (the Centre) in asking state governments to compete in the open market for vaccines. "Both the state as well as the Central government have the constitutional obligation to protect the health of a citizen and there cannot be any discrimination. Asking state governments to compete in the open market for vaccine procurement with the Centre and private hospitals is not correct," the plea said. It further said that the cost difference would also lead to discrimination between different states.