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Clarify rationale behind COVID-19 vaccine pricing; Consider invoking Patent Act: SC tells Centre

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New Delhi, Apr 27: Amid the controversy over the price uniformity of the COVID-19 vaccine in India, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Central government to clarify the basis and rationale on which vaccines are being priced in the country.

The SC Bench of Justices DR Chandrachud and Justices L Nageswara Rao and Ravindra Bhat was hearing a suo motu cases registered in the wake of the COVID crisis in the country.

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SC on Vaccine pricing in India

Then bench noted that different vaccine manufacturers were quoting different prices for their vaccines at a time when the country is passing through national crisis.

The apex court, orally urged the Central government to examine the necessity of invoking provisions under the Patent Act to regulate prices of COVID vaccines if necessary.

"Regarding pricing on vaccination different manufacturers is quoting in different prices. There are powers under Patents act. This is a pandemic and a national crisis," Justice Bhat remarked, according to Bar and Bench.

SC on oxygen supply:

Justice Chandrachud directed the Centre to produce information on the total availability of oxygen in the country, the projected need of states, the methodology adopted on the requirement of states, the enhancement of critical medical requirements including beds, steps to ensure availability of essential drugs including Remdesivir and Favipiravir.

The justice also asked the Centre to submit details of the methodology used to allocate oxygen to states from the central pool.

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    SC on vaccination

    The SC bench directed the Centre to provide information on the projected requirements of the vaccine due to the enhancement of coverage from May 1.

    "Covishield and Covaxin are currently available for people aged 45 years and above. From May 1, the vaccination will open for all above 18. The Union shall clarify the projected requirements of the vaccine due to enhancement of coverage," the bench said.

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