Acting on a public interest litigation (pil) petition, the Karnataka High Court directed the Union government not to implement the Pharmaceutical Policy 2002 "insofar as it relates to the formulation of price control mechanism" for life-saving and essential drugs. The pil, filed by Bangalore-based doctors K S Gopinath and VV Bhasker, had sought a court order to quash the pharmaceutical policy of the government.
The petitioners contended that it raised the cost of essential drugs by excluding them from the regime of the Drugs (Price Control) Order. Drugs such as penicillin and insulin would become very expensive, they argued.
The court observed that it was the duty of the government to ensure the availability of essential drugs at a reasonable price and their equitable distribution. It also said that a criterion should be laid down to prevent such drugs from falling out of the price control regime. Until this is done, the Pharmaceutical Policy shall not be implemented, it ordered.
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