RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has asked the central government to issue flexibilities in India's Patent Act to allow more companies to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines and medicines.
In a statement, SJM want the government to use legal provisions to exempt patent rights and get these products manufactured for government use or issue a compulsory licence under section 92 of the Patents Act to scale up production of medicines like Remdesivir, Faviracire, Tociluzumab, and new medicines like Molnupiravir.
"Though the local production of Remdesivir and Favirapvir is taking place, the available quantity is highly inadequate to meet the increasing demand due to the severity of the problem. Another important medicine to treat COVID-19 patients with a deadly "cytokine storm" is Tocilizumab, which is not produced in India. The importation of this medicine is highly inadequate to meet the requirements," Ashwani Mahajan, National Co-Convenor, SJM said.
SJM called for the facilitation of technology transfer of vaccines, including the trade secrets to all potential manufacturers to scale up production of Covaxin and Covishield. It wanted the government to license vaccine production widely to more pharma companies with technological capabilities, instead of a few companies.
The organisation called for providing regulatory clearance to start the local production of the Sputnik V vaccine and impose a ceiling of prices of COVID-19 medicines and vaccines taking into account the cost of production-based formula.
The organisation also want India to transfer the technologies for the production of medicines and vaccines globally and articulate the need for a waiver of intellectual property and facilitation of technology transfer in all relevant international forums at the global level and accelerate diplomatic efforts at G7, G20, and other groupings.
"SJM strongly deplores the statement of global corporate leader, Bill Gates that vaccine formula shouldn't be shared with India and other countries. This is nothing but yet another manifestation of corporate greed to profit from the worst pandemic of the century. There is an urgent need to invoke measures like ceiling of the prices of these medicines. The prices of vaccines announced by both companies for the state government procurement and private hospitals are exorbitant and affect the acceleration of vaccination in the country. Unreasonable profit for medicines and vaccines are unjustifiable in all circumstances, especially in a pandemic," Mahajan said.