A plea was filed on Saturday in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Centre to ensure refund of “exorbitant” amounts charged by private labs and hospitals for conducting RT-PCR tests to detect COVID-19.
The application has been filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ajay Agrawal in his pending PIL in which he had sought fixing of uniform rate of Rs 400 across India, as done by Odisha, for the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, on November 24, had issued notice to the Union Health Ministry on Agrawal’s PIL and had sought its response within two weeks.
The fresh plea said that when hospitals and laboratories were charging Rs 4,500 for the test, the actual cost, including that of the testing kit, was between Rs 800 to Rs 1,200 and even now, “exorbitant rates” are being charged in various states when the total cost incurred is about Rs 200 only.
Aggarwal submits that “this exorbitant over and above amount charged from poor and innocent people of this Country needs to be refunded immediately as it is not only unrealistic and unreasonable but is shocking”. While issuing the notice, the top court had said that the PIL would be heard with another pending plea of Sachin Jain pertaining to the cost of treatment for Covid-19.
In conclusion, the owners of the private laboratories and hospitals are using the calamity into opportunities for minting crores and crores of rupees and the people are suffering due to them.