7 Nov 2023 4:00 AM GMT
The Kerala High Court recently directed the Government to report whether there were alternative methods available to make medicines available for treatment of breast cancer in India for patients who could not afford expensive drugs.Justice Devan Ramachandran directed the Government to apprise the Court regarding alternative methods for making medicines affordable to patients for treatment...
The Kerala High Court recently directed the Government to report whether there were alternative methods available to make medicines available for treatment of breast cancer in India for patients who could not afford expensive drugs.
Justice Devan Ramachandran directed the Government to apprise the Court regarding alternative methods for making medicines affordable to patients for treatment of breast cancers and whether such medicines were included under the ambit of any specific schemes.
“….the competent Authority of the Union of India will inform this Court as to what is the best alternative that can be offered to the patients of breast cancer in India qua the medicines for its treatment; and whether it has already been included in specified schemes. This information has not been yet made available in any of the counter pleadings, though the manufacturers on record, appear to have come forward with certain suggestions within the purlieus of their Corporate Social Responsibility.”
The Court was considering a petition of a deceased bank employee where the Court took suo moto cognizance on the issue of exorbitant pricing of life-saving patented medicines after the death of the erstwhile petitioner who had not been able to afford the Ribociclib drug for the treatment of her breast cancer.
During the hearing, Central Government Counsel Mini Gopinath submitted before the Court that most medicines for treating breast cancer were already included in some schemes and entitled persons under those schemes could obtain it for subsidized rates.
Advocate Maitreyi Maitreyi Sachidananda Hegde, amicus curiae, had argued that Central Government could invoke Section 100 of the Patent Act which authorizes the government to requisition life-saving medicines in cases of medical emergencies. It was contended that apart from Ribociclib, even a drug called Abemaciclib was also used for treatment of breast cancer which was also patent protected, exorbitantly priced and unaffordable to patients. It was argued that since these drugs were patent protected, they were not being produced domestically. It was further argued that price of the drugs can be significantly brought down, if generic alternatives of these drugs could be manufactured in India.
After the petitioner passed away during the pendency of the case, the Court took suo moto cognizance of the issue and appointed the Counsel for the petitioner, Advocate Hegde as the Amicus Curiae.
The matter has been posted for further consideration on November 22, 2023
Case title: IN RE EXORBITANT PRICING OF LIFE SAVING PATENDED MEDICINES
Case number: W.P. (C) No.18999 of 2022
Click Here To Read/Download The Order