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Hike in medical oxygen price: Kerala HC adjourns hearing on petition of private hospitals

K.C.Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on June 03, 2021

The hospitals’ plea said medical oxygen suppliers had sought reimbursement of ‘Covid mitigating expenses’ and ‘transportation and handling expenses’

The Kerala High Court on Thursday adjourned to June 7 hearing on a writ petition filed by the Kerala Private Hospitals’ Association seeking a directive to the State Government to initiate action against suppliers of medical oxygen for hiking the price of the product .

The petition said that medical oxygen supply agencies had all of a sudden hiked the price of oxygen and started demanding reimbursement under the head ‘Covid mitigating expenses’ and ‘additional transportation and handling expenses’.

The outbreak of Covid–19 pandemic had landed the members of the association in dire financial straits. At a time when private hospitals were struggling to provide affordable quality care to Covid 19 patients, the untimely hike in the price of medical oxygen was unlawful. It was nothing but black marketeering and unethical practice. The hike would hamper the uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen. In fact, the supply of medical oxygen was critical and any unethical practice in this regard would invite punishments under provisions of the Disaster Management Act and the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020. Stringent action should be taken against the suppliers under the provisions of the Act and the Ordinance.

The petitioner also sought a directive to oxygen suppliers not to further increase the price of medical oxygen without sanction from the authorities under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Published on June 03, 2021

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