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Delhi HC raps Govt for lack of policy to treat patients in need of expensive drugs

Live Law News Network
21 March 2014 5:12 AM GMT
Delhi HC raps Govt for lack of policy to treat patients in need of expensive drugs
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Anguished over lack of funds or a policy to provide free treatment to critical patients requiring expensive drugs, the Delhi High Court today asked the Government to find a way out or else it will find a remedy under the Constitution to protect their right to life.

"There should be some policy. But I don't find any policy. We can't allow them (critically ill patients) to die for want of money. State will have to do something. It can't be a bystander," Justice Manmohan said.

"You can't say human life is not worth preserving. What is the point of having a Constitution if only the rich and mighty get the benefits? We can't have such lofty ideals in the Constitution and not implement the same," the Court said.

"If a judge, government functionary, etc had been suffering from this ailment, then he/she would have been catered to. So why should a common man suffer for want of resources," the Court asked.

It made the observation while hearing two pleas, one seeking treatment for a rickshawpuller's minor son who is suffering from Gaucher, a degenerative genetic disorder, and another petition of a bed-ridden haemophiliac man who is pleading to be treated at state expense as his family has run out of money.

While the minor boy requires a monthly dose of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) costing Rs 4-5 lakh each time, the haemophiliac patient's regular treatment costs Rs one lakh every day and the drug to reduce his rate of bleeding would cost about Rs 75 lakh for a 6-8 weeks treatment.

The Court has listed both the cases for final arguments on March 25.

The Court suggested to the Health Secretary of Delhi government, who was present in Court, pursuant to its earlier order, to frame a policy or take some decision as he would be the "lead person" in the department and the only person he will have to speak to is the Lt Governor.

"You are the lead person. You are the government now. There is no one in between to interfere with your decision. All you have to do is speak to the LG. So go get it done. You come up with the policy. It will be implemented. There is no one to stop you. You are the sole repository of power. You please do it," the court said.
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