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SC Forces Govt to Agree on 2nd-line Treatment for HIV+

Times of India
11 December 2010
New Delhi, India

SC Forces Govt to Agree on 2nd-line Treatment for HIV+
The Centre on Friday tried everything – from huge costs to irrational treatment by private hospitals – to express reservations about extending second–line treatment to all HIV positive patients, but the Supreme Court used the right to life argument to counter them.

The government had said it was willing to extend secondline treatment costing Rs 28,500 each to all patients except those irrationally treated by private hospitals. But a bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar wondered how the government could cite financial burden as a ground to deny treatment to a section that might have been irrationally treated by private hospitals.

"It is a question of right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and the government cannot say finances are a constraint," the bench said.

Solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam realized the weight of the bench’s logic and abandoned the financial constraint argument to clarify that the Centre was more concerned about the capacity to treat rather than finances.

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