SC calls for Covid treatment price cap at pvt hospitals

SC calls for capping Covid-19 treatment prices at private hospitals

Right to affordable treatment is a part of the right to health, observed the apex court while suggesting a cap of Covid-19 treatment prices at private hospitals

Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Friday suggested capping fees charged by private hospitals for Covid-19 treatment, saying the right to health, which is a fundamental right, also included right to affordable treatment.

"It cannot be disputed that for whatever reasons, treatment has become costlier and costlier and it is not affordable to the common people at all. Even if one survives from Covid-19, many times he is finished financially and economically," a bench presided over by Justice Ashok Bhushan noted.

Follow DH's coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic here

The court said it was the duty of the State to make provisions for affordable treatment.

"Due to the unprecedented pandemic, everybody in the world is suffering in one way or the other. It is a world war against Covid-19. Therefore, there should be a government-public partnership to end the world war against Covid-19," the court said.

It said that either more provisions were to be made by the state government and the local administration or there should be a cap on the fees charged by the private hospitals, under the Disaster Management Act.

The suggestion was made when the court was dealing with a suo moto case for proper treatment of Covid-19 patients and dignified handling of corpses at hospitals.

The court also noted that despite guidelines and SOPs, the pandemic has spread like wildfire, so every state must act vigilantly and work with the Centre harmoniously.