On Friday, April 30, 2021, the Supreme Court threw light on the procurement process of Covid-19 vaccines by the state and remarked that the pricing and the procurement policy fixed by the Central Government are not up to the mark, and the vaccines are overpriced. A three-judge bench consisting of Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and Ravindra Bhat indicated the Central Government scrutinize the matter. Also, the Bench did not pass any binding order to this effect.
Further, the Bench stated that Rules 19 and 20 of the Drugs Price Control Order obligates the Centre to monitor the prices of such drugs. The remarks to this effect made while hearing the Suo Motu case initiated while looking into the Covid-19 management in the country.
Moving on, Justice Bhat put forward the concern of the public health emergency and pushed for the significance of cooperative federalism. The Court seeks clarification regarding the national immunization policy rather than the states procuring the drugs at such a price. Lastly, the Court questioned the Central Government regarding the invocation of Section 92 of the Patent Act that obligates to issue compulsory licenses and enables the manufacturing of the drugs while sorting the royalties.