‘No Differential Pricing for COVID Vaccines’: West Bengal Moves SC
“The reasons for the differential pricing is not transparent, and will result in lower coverage”: West Bengal To SC.
The West Bengal government moved the Supreme Court on Friday, 7 May, to seek a cap on differential vaccine pricing and to direct the Centre to fix a uniform rate. The state asked for free vaccines to be given under a universal campaign.
West Bengal, in a prayer, as part of an affidavit filed by the state in the suo motu case taken up by the SC on COVID asked for the Centre to seek the advice of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority on the vaccine policy, reported Live Law.
Pointing out that the costs of the two vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield are different and likely to double, the state, as per the report, said in its affidavit.
“The basis for such differential pricing for each vaccine is not founded on any intelligible differentia and is per se manifestly arbitrary and discriminatory”.
The affidavit argued that the reasons for the differential pricing is not transparent and will result in lower coverage of the population.
States are being compelled to buy vaccines from the open market where higher prices are fixed by the manufacturers. The state asked for the vaccine manufacturers to explain the differential pricing for transparency sake. The matter is expected to be heard on May 10.
CM Banerjee’s Letter on Free Vaccines to PM Modi
Earlier, on Wednesday, 5 May West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the COVID-19 situation in the state, soon after assuming office for the third time.
Banerjee was administered the oath of office on 5 May, after her party, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), won a thumping majority in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly elections.
The CM followed up on a request made on 24 February, whereby the West Bengal government had asked to procure vaccines for providing free vaccination to all in the state.
The letter further asked for universal vaccination in a time-bound manner, increasing supply of vaccine, ensuring adequate availability of essential drugs, etc.
India reported its highest single-day spike on Friday with 4,14,188 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.
(With inputs from LiveLaw)
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