The Delhi High Court today issued to the Delhi government on a plea seeking direction to the Delhi Government to cap the price of High-Resolution Computerized Tomography (HRCT) Test, which is used for detecting the presence and the severity of COVID-19 infection in the lungs of patients.
A bench of Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh issued notice and sought Delhi Government's stand on the plea by Shivleen Pasricha, filed through Advocate Amresh Anand.
[NOTE: The HRCT test creates a detailed image of the lung anatomy and the airflow through it which could be used to visually assess the lung anatomy and airflow patterns to detect and diagnose underlying health conditions including COVID-I 9.]
The plea before the Court
The plea submits that on several occasions it has been seen that a suspected/probable COVID patient, though may have tested negative in RT-PCR test, has indeed contracted COVID-19 infection which could only be later found after undergoing High-Resolution Computerised Tomography ('HRCT') test/ scan.
Referring to media reports, the plea also states that in the present COVID-19 wave, there are many cases where RT-PCR test reports are coming negative; however, the patients are being diagnosed with COVID-19 after taking the HRCT test.
Hence, the plea argued that getting HRCT done for immediate and/ or proper diagnosis, management, and treatment of COVID-19 in suspected/ probable patients is tremendously relevant and crucial.
It further submits that that the cost of the HRCT Test at present in the State of National Capital Territory is unregulated and very high, beyond the affordability of a common man earning an average income.
The plea submits that the cost of HRCT in the State of NCT of Delhi ranges somewhere between INR 5000/- (Rupees Five Thousand Only) to INR 6500/- (Rupees Six Thousand Five Hundred Only) in Delhi.
"Hypothetically, if a nuclear family of 4 (four) is suspected to be infected by COVID-19, and they are to undergo HRCT for determining the specificity and/ or severity and/ or diagnosis ofthe infection, then they have to shell out a considerable amount of money which may be outside the scope of affordability of a common man," adds the plea.
Further, the plea also states,
"The need of the hour is to take immediate steps by the Respondents to make HRCT, an essential test for COVID-19, available to the common man, at reasonable and affordable prices."
Therefore, the plea demands that considering the prevailing state of circumstances, and for the aid and benefit of the general public of Delhi, the cost of HRCT be capped to a reasonable amount by the Delhi Government.
Lastly, the plea seeks directions to the Respondents to take appropriate steps to regulate/ cap the rate of High-Resolution Computerised Tomography ('HRCT') test/ scan in the State of National Capital Territory of Delhi, specifically for patients having COVID-19 symptoms, in the interest of justice.