The Jharkhand High Court has sought Centre's response on the action taken by its competent authority for controlling the price of critical medical equipments such as pulse Oximeters and oxygen concentrators included under the Drugs Price Control Order, 2013.
A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad was dealing with a petition seeking directions on the Centre and State to bring the Medical Devices like Oxygen Concentrator, Pulse Oximeter, Ventilator Machine etc under price control by invoking sec. 3 of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and National Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The plea also sought directions to bring COVID-19 Vaccines including Covishield and Covaxin etc. under price control by invoking Section 3 of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and National Disaster Management Act, 2005.
During the course of hearing, it was submitted by the Petitioner that the Central Government came out with a notification dated 11.02.2020 declaring as "drugs" the medical devices.
Furthermore, reliance was also made on the office memorandum dated 29.06.2020 for monitoring the price movements of critical medical equipment like Pulse Oximeter and Oxygen Concentrators included under the DPCO.
In view of the aforesaid submissions, the ASGI appearing for the Centre sought a week's time to seek instruction on the aspect.
"Accordingly, let this matter be posted on 17.06.2021 in order to apprise this Court by way of an affidavit about the action taken by the competent authority of the Central Government in pursuance of the notification dated 11.02.2020 and office memorandum dated 29.06.2020." the Court ordered.
The matter will now be heard on June 17.
Advocate Shadab Ansari appeared on behalf of the petitioner whereas ASGI Rajiv Sinha appeared for the Centre. Advocates Rajiv Ranjan and Piyush Chitresh appeared for the State.
About the Plea
Considering the Health Emergency situation of the country and in the public interest, the plea prayef that the price of life-saving Covid-19 Vaccines including Covishield, Covaxin etc. and Medical Devices like Oxygen Concentrator, Pulse Oximeter, Ventilator Machine etc. should be controlled.
"The Central Government has left the fixing of the price of this lifesaving Covid-19 Vaccine on the manufacturer and they have been fixing the price of said vaccine in an unjustified, arbitrary, and unreasonable manner." the plea read.
Furthermore, it had been stated in the plea that the lifesaving Vaccines and Medical Devices have been fixed by the manufacturing companies and the Maximum Retails Price of such lifesaving vaccine and medical devices have been kept very high (sometimes than double) which is unreasonable, unjust, and arbitrary.
"The vaccine manufacturing companies have arbitrarily fixed the price of vaccine different for Central Government, State Governments and Private Hospitals which is unjust and unreasonable." the plea read.
Title: Md. Mumtaz Ansari v. Union of India through its Secretary and Ors