The Supreme Court Tuesday issued notice to Kerala on a petition challenging a law that requires private clinics that dispense medicines to patients to obtain licences.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Indian Medical Association against the Kerala government’s decision to amended the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940.
The Vacation bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Deepak Verma and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan issued the notice after senior counsel V. Giri told the court that the enforcement of the amended provision of the act, were jeopardizing the functioning of these clinics.
He said that most of these clinics were located in rural or semi-urban areas and were economical for the patients as they give medicine only for the period for which it has been prescribed.
The senior counsel said that normally at chemist shops a patient is forced to buy more medicine than he actually requires because one has to buy a strip of tablets even though he may not be requiring a large quantity of pills.
Giri said that by their training the doctors of these clinics know pharmacology and need no licence to sell any medicine.
Justice Verma pointed out that the petitioner IMA was talking about the ‘small clinics in rural or semi-urban areas but in fact most of the petitioners were big hospitals’.
He said that generally in such small clinics one of the doctors is a qualified person and others are quacks.
When Giri tried to say that such things don’t happen in Kerala, Justice Verma said: ‘Kerala is also a part of India.’
Appearing for the Qualified Professional Medical Practitioners Association, counsel Purvish Malkan said that the private medical practitioners are exempted under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act from obtaining licence for treating their patients.
He told the court that private doctors cannot be equated with big hospitals in order to cover them under the provisions of the act.