Decided on August 29,2019

Community Network For Empowerment (Cone) Appellant


M.V.MURALIDARAN, J. - (1.) The prayer in this PIL is as follows:- "ii) Issue a writ of mandamus by directing the respondents particularly the State respondents to maintain minimum stock of ARV drugs for 3 months at the ART centres of this State to avoid shortage of drugs."
(2.) Heard Mr. Kh.Tarunkumar, learned counsel for the petitioner and Mr. P.Tamphamani, learned Government Advocate for the respondent No.1. Also heard Mr. A.Bimol, learned senior counsel for the respondent No.4, JNIMS, Mr. K.Roshan, learned counsel for the respondent No.3, RIMS, Mr.S.Samarjeet, learned CGC for the respondent No.2 and Mr. K.Rabei, learned counsel for the respondent No.5.
(3.) The petitioner pleads that as per the Operational Guidelines for the ART services by the NACO under the National AIDS Control Programme, 2012, it is mentioned for keeping minimum stock of ARV drugs for 3 months at the ART centres and also for regular supplying of ARV and OI drugs to the eligible PLHIV, the PLHIVS in the State of Manipur are not getting their due ARV drugs regularly and because of the scarcity of the said drugs and medicines, they were compelled to buy the said drugs from open market even if the said drugs to be made available to them free of cost as per the NACO guidelines. The said issue which is being faced by the HIV patients in the State of Manipur was widely published in all the leading local dailies including the People's Chronicle and Imphal Free Press. In the news paper report published in the People's Chronicle, it ws reported that one patient who is undergoing ART treatment since 2009 was compelled to buy ARV drugs from the market at the cost of Rs. 2700/- for one month and most of PLHIV, their financial conditions are not sound. It was also published in the said newspaper that altogether there are 13 ART centres in the State and there are 11,321 HIV patients who are taking First Line of ART treatment, 654 patients are taking First Line Alternative, 473 patients are undergoing Second Line ART treatment and 10 patients are taking Third Line ART treatment. Another HIV patient also reported in the said newspaper that as the Government is not providing ART drugs on regular basis, he has procured them from market as the medicines are needed to taken regularly without interruption. Some of the patients have sold out their belongings to buy ART drugs just for their survival. The petitioner further pleads that in the aforesaid NACO Operational Guidelines for ART services, it is clearly mentioned that all ART centres must be provided with ARV drugs by NACO through their respective SACS (State AIDS Control Society). The number of patients for which drugs are supplied must be estimated in consultation with SACS and RC's during the formulation of AAP. The drugs are generally procured annually and supplied 2-3 installments. The drugs required for all ART centres are supplied to respective SACS which in turn send it to the ART centres and monitor the same. All centres should ensure that they have a minimum stock of 3 months at their centre. In case of expiry ARV/OI drugs stock that may not be consumed the centre should inform SACS well in advance (4 months before expiry) so that necessary arrangement can be done to relocate the same. In case of shortage of drugs, information should be sent to the SACS, RC's and NACO. Despite having this mandatory provision, the said ART centres in Manipur does not maintain 3 months stock of ARV and OI drugs. That is why on several occasions, PLHIVs in this State have been facing shortage such drugs. Therefore, a direction is required to be given to the respondents to maintain 3 months stock of ARV drugs in all the ART centres. On the basis of which, the PIL is filed. ;

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