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Bombay High Court Calls For Free Treatment of Mucormycosis for the Poor

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Case name: The Registrar (Judicial), High Court of Judicature of Bombay, Bench at Aurangabad VERSUS Union of India & Ors.

Facts

On Monday, a bench of Justices RV Ghuge and BU Debadwarwas informed that the treatment for Black Fungus is now covered under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana (MJPJAY) and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) for eligible beneficiaries. The COURT thus ordered the State to publicize the same as much as possible so that the “poorest of the poor, the illiterate, and persons living in remote areas” are aware of these facilities.

Arguments before the Court

Advocate Satyajit Bora had submitted before the court amicus curiae that the MJPJAY, covers people below the poverty line, but is limited to Rs. 1,50,000 per patient.

He submitted that the treatment for the fungal disease involved hospitalization of 4-6 weeks to recover completely. After factoring in the drugs for treatment, the total cost to be borne by a patient comes to Rs 8-10 lakhs.

He submitted that patients from the economically weaker sections of society would find “death to be cheaper than the treatment”.

Thus, the State informed that the scheme also includes free treatment for Black Fungus. 

Observations by the Court

The bench identified that 130 hospitals have been shortlisted to provide the benefit under the scheme. Medicines for treating such ailments would be available through the District Civil Surgeon.

1000 more hospitals are to be empanelled and 19 medical and surgical packages have been identified for the treatment of Mucormycosis under MJPJAY. Anti-fungal medicines required for the treatment of this ailment will be provided free of cost to the patients admitted to these hospitals.

Court’s Orders

Taking into consideration the submission by Advocate Satyajit Bora, the Court said that, “Irrespective of whether any person in the State of Maharashtra is a cardholder or not, all would be eligible for the treatment under the MJPJAY, in selected hospitals,”

The bench also ordered that the State had to stop the private hospital from raising the prices astronomically for the treatment of the fungal disease since the government agencies will be doing it for free.

Click here to read the Judgement.


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