The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Central Government, the National AIDS Control Organization, and others on a plea alleging a shortage of antiretroviral drugs for treating HIV patients in the country.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli sought a response from the Ministry of Health, National AIDS Control Organization, and others on a plea filed by the Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS, a registered society, against the shortage of antiretroviral drugs in the country.
In its order, the bench passed on September 12 and stated, “The petitioners have submitted that there are shortages in the procurement of ART drugs in the country and the tender for 2021–22, which was due in August 2021, was issued in December 2021 and eventually failed.”Issue notice, returnable in two weeks.”
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the treatment of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) using anti-HIV drugs.
According to the NGO, the lack of drugs at the National AIDS Control Organization’s anti-retroviral therapy centres impedes ARV treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS.
The petition has sought the protection of the right to health and life of people living with HIV/AIDS who face the risk of developing advanced HIV disease, which is life-threatening. There is a systemic failure in the procurement system and a repeated shortage and stockout of the ARV drugs, the plea said.