The judges observed that the prices of the drugs were so high that it left the patient with the option of either to die or buy medicines by selling one’s land or ornaments.
New Delhi: Protecting the interest of the common man, the Supreme Court on Wednesday told the government not to disturb the existing retail price mechanism of drugs under the price control order while finalising the list of essential medicines.
“The common man has no access to anything,” observed apex court bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice S J Mukhopadhaya, adding that “at least one state government (Rajasthan) started distributing generic medicine free of cost”.
The judges said this while chiding the government for taking long in increasing the number of important medicines under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).
The court wondered why things had not moved for nine years and told the government to bring more essential medicines within the reach of the common man.
The court asked Luthra to read that part of Feb 2, order which said: “For the last about 10 months, this bench has adjourned the case on six different dates to enable the central government to take appropriate decision on the recommendations made by different dates.”
The court said that any further delay in the issuance of the NLEM would compel it to pass directions to that effect.
“What is the legitimacy of the directions of this court or that of any other court,” the judges said.
Even before the expanded NLEM could see the light of the day, a campaign has started in media, said the court. [Source]