PIL in Bombay HC urges quashing of differential pricing of vaccines

The rates are discriminatory and arbitrary, says the petition

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed before the Bombay High Court on Wednesday seeking to quash the differential pricing for COVID-19 vaccines for the Centre and State governments.

The PIL has been filed by advocate Fayzan Khan and three law students Arman Parve, Bushra Sayed and Trupti Gaikar. The PIL challenges the different pricing of Covishield vaccine quoted by the Serum Institute of India: ₹150 per dose for the Centre, ₹400 per dose for State governments and ₹600 per dose for private hospitals.

The PIL says, “On April 24, Bharat Biotech also declared its rates (State governments ₹600 and ₹1,200 to private hospitals. These declarations have been made by SII in response to a direction of the Union government that the manufacturers of vaccine would have to transparently make an advance declaration of the price at which vaccine would be made available to the State governments and in the open market.”

It urged the court to hold the costs as “discriminatory, arbitrary, unreasonable and unjustified”, violating the Constitution of India.

The PIL seeks a direction to the Centre and States to ensure the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine at a uniform price of ₹150 per dose by exercising powers under the National Disaster Management Act, Essential Commodities Act and sovereign powers to achieve the goal of complete vaccination and to protect national public health, and further ensure that Articles 14 (Equality before law) and 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution are not left at the mercy of pharmaceutical companies.

The petitioners also wish for a temporary prohibitory injunction order restraining the companies from selling the vaccines at a price more than ₹150 + G.S.T. or obstructing its supply to State and Central governments.

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