NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked states to take urgent steps to regulate online health service aggregators that are providing diagnostic or other services without meeting the regulatory requirements or having registered under the law.
In a letter to all state chief secretaries, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has underlined concerns about certain online health service aggregators — operating in various parts of the country — not providing any details of laboratories, on behalf of which, they are providing services, nor their registration status, including compliance with minimum standards.
“It is a matter of grave concern, as it affects the health and safety of citizens who may obtain services from these online aggregators and subsequently be aggrieved,” the letter from Bhushan said.
States have been asked to prepare a “time-bound action plan” and implement it to regulate such online health service aggregators and related service providers. Besides, the Centre has also advised states to engage the home department to investigate such matters to prevent any violation of applicable laws.
The move comes in the wake of the Delhi high court seeking action against online health service aggregators which are operating illegally or in violation of the law and collecting diagnostic samples including that for Covid tests. The court’s observation were made in August in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a ban on the alleged collection of diagnostic samples by online health service aggregators for testing of Covid-19 infection, posing as “medical diagnostic laboratories”. The petition filed by Jaipur-based pathologist Rohit Jain had also sought ban on the illegal online health service aggregators which are not registered under the Clinical Establishment (Registration & Regulation) Act 2010 or under any other regulations and are running without any medico-legal liability for collecting and testing samples for diagnosis