The Delhi High Court has ruled that COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits should be sold at a price not beyond Rs 400 each, inclusive of GST, and observed that “public interest must outweigh private gain” and litigation “between the parties should give way to the larger public good”.
The court issued the direction to Rare Metabolics Life Sciences Pvt Ltd, Aark Pharmaceuticals and Matrix Labs, which had entered into an agreement to import 10 lakh test kits from China and distribute them in India at a cost of Rs 600 each, the rate approved by the ICMR.
“…for people to be assured that the pandemic is under control and for governments to ensure and for agencies engaged in the frontline battle to safeguard people’s health, more kits/tests should be made available urgently at the lowest cost, for carrying out extensive tests throughout the country.,” Justice Najmi Waziri said.
Advocate Jayant Mehta, the counsel for the petitioner companies Rare Metabolics and Aark, said that in the interest of the country he would not pursue the matter any further and would give up all further claims if the importer (Matrix Labs) undertakes to sell the product at not more than Rs 400 each.
“Both parties (Rare Metabolics Life Sciences Pvt Ltd and Matrix Labs) agree the principle public interest should be paramount and the tests should be made available to the general public at the lowest cost possible,” the court observed. The order was passed on April 24 and made available on Sunday.
Advocate Jeevesh Nagrath for Matrix Labs submitted that it “undertakes to supply the kits/tests at Rs 400 each, plus GST i.e. at 40% lesser than the ICMR approved rate, directly to any Government or its agency or private entity duly approved to carry out these tests.”
The court was hearing a plea by Rare Metabolics and Aark, which sought release of 7.24 lakh test kits from Matrix Labs.