Supreme Court rules private labs to make COVID-19 tests free of cost

On April 8, 2020, the Supreme Court of India ordered the private labs to make COVID-19 testing in private labs free of cost. The GoI had earlier allowed the private labs to test COVID-19 after being approved by ICMR. The prices of the test were capped at Rs 4,500.

Ruling of the SC

The Supreme Court hearings are currently being conducted through video conferencing. The Supreme Court bench has ruled that the tests must be conducted through labs that are certified by National Accreditation Board for testing and calibration Laboratories (NABL), WHO (World Health Organization) and ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research).

Need for private labs

There are currently 118 government labs in the country that are performing 15,000 tests. The testing in India has to be increased. In order to do so, more private labs should be roped in.

SC recommends using CSR funds

The Supreme court recommended to divert CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) funds towards the testing centres to reimburse the labs. By this, the tests can be made free in private labs as well.

Concerns raised by the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has ordered the GoI to provide adequate security to the health care workers. Actions should be taken against people impeding the works of doctors and other medical staffs.

The Supreme Court also raised concerns over shortage of PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) for doctors and other medical professionals

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