Delhi High Court Concludes PIL on TB Medicine Availability as Government Ensures Supply

The Delhi High Court has concluded the proceedings of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) concerning the alleged scarcity of tuberculosis (TB) medicines at the Rajan Babu Institute of Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis, following assurances that sufficient drug supplies are in stock and more are on the way.

The closure came after the Central government and the Mission Director of the Delhi State Health Mission provided the court with affidavits outlining the current stock levels and the anticipated arrival of additional supplies. The PIL, initiated by the NGO Social Jurist, had highlighted critical shortages, including a non-operational ultrasound machine and a six-month gap in essential medicine availability.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, representing the petitioner, argued that the reported shortages had forced economically disadvantaged patients to buy medicines externally at elevated prices. However, the court was satisfied with the government’s response, stating that existing stocks of the 4 FDC drug would last a month, and the 3 FDC drug, three weeks.

During the proceedings, assurances were also given about the functionality of the ultrasound machine at the institute. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) confirmed that the machine was operational and clarified that while the institute does not have a CT scan machine, impoverished patients are referred to Hindu Rao Hospital for free scans, and others are charged a nominal fee of ₹1,500, typically covered by NGOs.

Previously, on April 23, the court had directed the MCD to hasten the procurement of an ultrasound machine for the hospital and ensure its operation within 15 days. It also prompted both central and city authorities to clarify the status of medicine availability amid claims of a “global shortage” of specific TB drugs.

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The High Court’s intervention has led to a better-coordinated response among the central and Delhi governments and the MCD, addressing the gaps in healthcare delivery for TB patients at the institute.

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