The Bombay High Court has sought the SBI stand on a senior citizen’s plea for reimbursement of Rs six lakh as the cost of importing a cancer medicine for his wife, who was an employee of the bank. A bench of Justice Anoop Mohta issued the notice to the SBI on a plea by Pune resident Nagesh Marathe, who told the court that the bank refused to reimburse the cost of medicine imported from Belgium for his wife Ranjana, who worked for the bank’s Pune branch from 1983 till she died in June 2015.
On Marathe’s plea, the bench issued notice to the bank last week and posted the matter for further hearing on May 3. The petitioner told the court that though the medicine was procured from Belgium at Rs 6.10 lakh, it was never administered to the patient as her health deteriorated and she died. Marathe submitted to the court in his petition that he had applied to the SBI for reimbursement of the consultation fees and the costs of medicines and specialised investigation totalling Rs 6.33 lakh.
“The bank, however, said it would reimburse only Rs two lakh of the entire bill and denied reimbursement of the remaining amount stating that importing medicine was not allowed and not required as the same treatment was available even in India,” the petition said. The petitioner said that since 2013 when Ranjana was diagnosed with cancer and the treatment was initiated, the bank paid all her bills on a regular basis.
“In May 2015, however, Ranjana’s health deteriorated and her doctor explained the need to administer a life-saving drug Kadcyla TMD-I, which was not available in India then. The treating oncologist instructed the petitioners to import the said medicine as the last resort to save Ranjana’s life,” the petition said.
“The petitioners inquired and found a company, which helped them procure 18 vials of the medicine from a supplier in Belgium. The petitioners paid a sum of Rs 6.10 lakh for the medicine,” it claimed. Marathe has sought the high court’s direction to the bank to reimburse the cost with interest. It also sought necessary directions to hand over the medicines imported by the petitioners to the needy patients or hospitals.