SC notice to Centre on PIL seeking to fix maximum rate for COVID-19 test

Petitioner alleges ‘big loot’ by laboratories

SC notice to Centre on PIL seeking to fix maximum rate for COVID-19 test

A health worker while collecting samples for COVID-19 tests, at KSRTC bus stand in Bengaluru, on Tuesday, November 24, 2020. PTI

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre on a PIL seeking fixing the maximum rate for the RT-PCR test for COVID-19 uniformly across India.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of SA Bobde asked the Health Ministry to respond to the PIL filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal and ordered listing of the matter after two weeks along with another pending petition with regard to cost of COVID19 treatment.

Private laboratories and hospitals were using the calamity as an opportunity for minting crores and crores of rupees, he alleged.

Agrawal wanted the top court to direct the governments to fix the maximum rate for the RT-PCR (real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test to Rs 400 uniformly across the country, instead of Rs 900 to Rs 2,800 as fixed by different state governments, Union Territories and NCT of Delhi.

“There is a big loot by laboratories and they are minting money to the tune of crores and crores of rupees. The margin of profit is so high as it is as high as 1,400 per cent in Andhra Pradesh and 1,200 per cent in Delhi,” Agrawal said in his petition. The RT-PCR kits were presently available for less than Rs 200 in the Indian market, he submitted.

“There is no other cost as the machines used for the RT-PCR test are already there with the laboratories as they conduct a large number of tests. And the matter is concerned with 135 crore citizens of the country as everybody worried about the coronavirus and forced to get their test done at this exorbitant price,” the petition stated.

 

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