SC questions government over Covid-19 vaccine pricing policy for states, private sector and centre
The Supreme Court disapproved the Central government's Covid-19 vaccine pricing and procurement policy. The Court even stressed that the vaccines that states have to purchase are overpriced.
A three-judge bench hasn't passed any direction or order over the matter but directed the Centre to examine the issue seriously. The Court even highlighted Rules 19 and 20 of the Drugs Price Control Order which suggests that the Centre should control the price of drugs.
The court made these observations while considering the suo moto case registered by it to look into the issues relating to the Covid-19 management in the country. Justice Ravindra Bhat, one of the three-justice, said the importance of cooperative federalism as Covid-19 is a public health emergency.
The Court even question why a national immunisation policy was not adopted instead of asking states to procure vaccines by themselves. The court said that the government must consider providing free-of-cost vaccination to all citizens. Also, the Court directed that the private manufactures are not supposed to decide which state should get how much quantity vaccines.
Meanwhile, the Court even asked the Centre if it will impose a lockdown to control the spread of the pandemic while hearing the suo moto proceedings. In addition, the Court directed states, centres and all DGPs not to initiate any action against people posting regarding the shortage of oxygen, beds, or doctors as spreading the rumors on social media.
Earlier, the Supreme Court took cognizance of the issues connected to the oxygen supply, drug availability and various other government policies and measures related to the pandemic.