The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Central government, National AIDS Control Organisation and others on a plea alleging a shortage of antiretroviral drugs for treating HIV patients in the country.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli sought a response from the Ministry of Health, National AIDS Control Organisation and others on a plea filed by the Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS, a registered society, against the shortage of antiretroviral drugs in the country.
In its order, the bench passed on September 12 stated, “The petitioners have submitted that there are shortages in the procurement of ART drugs in the country and the tender for 2021-22, which was due in August 2021, was issued in December 2021 and eventually failed. Issue notice, returnable in two weeks.”
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the treatment of people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) using anti-HIV drugs.
The NGO stated that the non-availability of drugs at the Anti Retro Viral Therapy Centres of the National AIDS Control Organisation results in hampering ARV treatment of people with HIV/AIDS.
The petition has sought the protection of the Right to Health and Life of People Living with HIV/AIDS who face the risk of developing advanced HIV disease which is life-threatening.
There is a systemic failure in the procurement system and the repeated shortage and stock out of the ARV drugs, the plea said.
The petition also sought directions to ensure that tendering of ARVs is completed annually in a timely manner.