Labs ordered to follow prescribed dengue test rates


The Lahore High Court on Thursday ordered private laboratories of Punjab to charge only Rs 90 from dengue patients for CBE tests and to set up separate counters for such patients.
Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan warned laboratory owners that contempt of court proceedings would be initiated against them if they failed to adhere to this order.
He further ordered that the said order would remain enforced till November 15, when the Punjab government’s anti-dengue campaign would end.
The court issued this order while hearing a writ petition challenging the sealing of a medical laboratory for allegedly overcharging for dengue tests.
As the proceedings started, Punjab Government Law Officer Sirajul Islam told the court that drug inspectors were taking action against laboratories working without licenses and charging more than Rs90 for dengue tests.
He said CBE tests cost only Rs70, while the government had allowed laboratories to charge Rs 90 per patient.
At this, the judge said the government would not be allowed to ban laboratories on its whims, as more laboratories were required to cater to the increasing number of dengue patients.
“Government should refrain from taking illegal steps and aggravating the situation, the court has to pass an order to de-seal all laboratories,” the judge said.
He also condemned lab-owners complicit in profiteering and reminded them of their duty to alleviate the suffering of patients.
The court adjourned hearing till 2pm and asked the petitioner and health secretary to convene and settle their issues.
When the hearing resumed, the law officer produced an order for de-sealing the petitioner’s laboratory on Lawrence Road.
However, the petitioner’s counsel, Raza Kazim, insisted that while his client’s laboratory would charge Rs 90 for dengue tests, it would not be possible to charge Rs 90 for CBE tests. Dr Mubashar Hassan appeared in court as representative of a lab at Lawrence Road.