Explanation on drugs' supply sought

NEW DELHI JAN. 3. The Delhi High Court today asked the Union Health Ministry to send a responsible official of it to the court to explain why Capital's empanelled chemists supplying medicines to people under the Central Government Health Services (CGHS) cover have stopped supply of certain drugs.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Devinder Gupta and Justice B.D. Ahmed asked the Ministry to send the official by Monday to apprise the court of the reasons for which the chemists had stopped the supply of medicines.

The direction came on public interest litigation by a person availing of the services. The petitioner, P.C. Chaswal, alleged that the 48 chemists with whom the Government has an agreement for supply of medicines to CGHS patients were not honouring the contract. Counsel for the petitioner, Sanjeev Chaswal, said that the empanelled chemists had stopped the supply of these medicines after a recent strike on a dispute over reimbursement of 10 per cent sales tax to the suppliers which the latter charged from the beneficiaries of the services.

Counsel for the Government, Sanjay Jain, submitted that the chemists had stopped the supply of medicines after the Government declined to reimburse the 10 per cent sales tax to them.

He submitted that the reimbursement was stopped because the issue of levying the sales tax on the medicines for the CGHS beneficiaries had been referred to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

The CAG had submitted its report, and the Government would take a decision on it very soon, the petitioner's counsel said.

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