Lawstreet Journal

Supreme Court questions Centre's COVID vaccination policy in relation to manufacturing and distribution

Lawstreet Journal 3 May 2021 7:28pm

Image courtesy: Lawstreet Journal Judiciary Supreme Court questions Centre's COVID vaccination policy in relation to manufacturing and distribution

The Supreme Court on Friday, April 30, 2021 raised eminent questions at the Centre's COVID vaccination policy that allows for both differential pricing between Centre and States and for private companies to set their own prices.

The Court also asked why the Centre was not considering powers of compulsory licensing under the Patents Act over COVID vaccines. The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat was hearing the suo moto case in Re Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services and held the following opinions- 

"Do not leave the vaccine pricing and distribution to the manufactures, This is equity over public goods. You need to pick up the responsibility for this", said the Court.

"This means leaving it to the vaccine manufacturers to decide which state gets how much? Can this question of equity be left to the private sector?", asked Justice DY Chandrachud.

"4500 crores were funded to the organisation for the development of the vaccine. Then we also own the product!", added Justice Ravindra Bhat.

"The same manufacturer is saying Rs 150 to you and 300-400 to the states! At a bulk level, the price difference will be of 30,000 to 40,000 crores. Why must the nation pay this? This can be used elsewhere! Why can't the central government get in bulk and then the states have it picked up?", the court further remarked.

Justice Bhat also stated that we were the first country to issue compulsory licence in the NATCO case, where a life saving drug was involved (The country's first… Continue Reading...

Tagged: Corona Updates  
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