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Vaccine Policy Allowing Private Sector To Procure 25% Vaccines Directly From Manufacturers Challenged: MP High Court Seeks Govt. Response

Sparsh Upadhyay
2 Jun 2021 3:14 AM GMT
Vaccine Policy Allowing Private Sector To Procure 25% Vaccines Directly From Manufacturers Challenged: MP High Court Seeks Govt. Response
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The Madhya Pradesh High Court has asked the State and Central Government to give their responses on the validity of Clause 8 of the National Vaccination Policy, which permits procurement of 25% vaccines by the private sector directly from the vaccine manufacturers, without any involvement of the Centre and the State.The Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul...

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court has asked the State and Central Government to give their responses on the validity of Clause 8 of the National Vaccination Policy, which permits procurement of 25% vaccines by the private sector directly from the vaccine manufacturers, without any involvement of the Centre and the State.

The Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Sreedharan was hearing an IA moved by Advocate Sunil Kumar Gupta who has argued that Clause 8 of the vaccine policy violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner has already filed a petition seeking direction to the State and the Centre for issuing a global tender for procurement of vaccines in larger quantities and with this IA, Gupta has also prayed before the Court that the Policy's operation be stayed until the State and the Centre finish procuring 75% of the vaccines.

In the IA, it has been stated thus:

"On one hand, the State and the Centre are on their kneels expressing their inability in timely procurement of vaccines, on the other hand, the private sector is having a lion's share from the manufacturers, which is bound to imbalance and disturb the whole supply chain of vaccine and procurement by the State and the Centre."

It has been further stated that if the private sector is allowed to directly procure as provided in the Vaccination Policy, then time is not far when a scam would be unearthed wherein instead of 25% a much larger quota would be discovered to have been rooted to the private sector, with the vaccines being sold at high-end prices to those who can afford it.

Thus it has been urged that Clause 8 is arbitrary without any protective guidelines ensuring the checks and balances over the private sector procurement of the vaccine and virtually gives a completely free hand to indulge in malpractices for procuring the vaccines.

"This is bound to affect those who cannot pay large amounts of money and get vaccinated, as they would be entirely dependent on the State and the Centre," the plea adds.

During the course of the hearing, Counsel for the petitioner Siddharth R Gupta contended that the procurement of the vaccines should be only and only through the Central or the State channels and in the face of the acute shortage of vaccines.

He also contended that like Remdesevir, Mphotericin and the important drugs, even the vaccine must be as an 'essential commodity' taken under the complete control of the Centre and the State with the complete exclusion of the private sector procurement. 

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