HC junks PIL seeking uniform Covishield, Covaxin rates

The plea by lawyer Fayzan Khan and others was moved on Wednesday before the High Court seeking directions to Covid vaccine-makers to sell doses at an uniform rate of Rs 150 per dose.

The Bombay High Court on Thursday refused to entertain a PIL filed by a city-based lawyer and three law students seeking directions to Covid vaccine makers Serum Institute of India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) to sell their vaccines at uniform rates.

The plea by lawyer Fayzan Khan and others was moved on Wednesday before the High Court seeking directions to Covid vaccine-makers to sell doses at an uniform rate of Rs 150 per dose.

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 the entire supply and control vaccine price.

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

The plea, filed through advocate Vivek Shukla, alleged that the pharmaceutical companies are engaged in “organised loot” and the High Court should intervene to protect “national public health” and ensure that the fundamental right to equality and life under the Constitution are “not left to the mercy of pharmaceutical companies”.

After advocate Shukla for the petitioners mentioned the PIL on Thursday morning, the High Court said, “The Supreme Court (which is hearing suo motu PIL on Covid management) has said issues that have pan-India effect will be dealt with by it. Vaccine pricing is a phenomenon applicable all over India and we are not entertaining it (PIL) as SC has fairly covered it.”
The court asked the lawyer to move before the apex court seeking relief.

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