RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has demanded universal access to Covid-19 vaccines and medicines. The organisation has initiated a digital signature campaign to support its objective.
"We firmly believe that many Indian manufacturers have the capacity and expertise in the production of essential medicines and vaccine, provided intellectual property rights hurdles are removed with technology transfer and trade secret issues resolved. Patent protection is the major barrier to the generic production of these medicines. Many Indian companies are already making Remdesivir under the voluntary license, however, the quantity is not sufficient to meet the demand, and the price is also very high from the point of view of affordability. We understand that the government needs to use the public health safeguards in the Patents Act and permit more companies to produce these medicines in the coming days," Ashwani Mahajan, National Co Convenor, SJM says.
SJM has urged citizens to digitally sign the petition that asks WTO to grant waiver in the provisions of TRIPS to make Covid-19 technology accessible to all, and asks the global pharma companies to voluntarily offer patent free rights including technology transfer, passcodes and raw material to other pharma manufacturers for the sake of humanity.
The petition also asks the government to take necessary steps including using its sovereign rights to grant compulsory license to other pharma manufacturers to produce vaccine and medicines. It calls for concerned individuals and organisations also to come forward and facilitate universal access to vaccines and medicines to fight Covid-19.
"As we may be requiring nearly 2 billion doses of vaccine in the next 6 months, we need to involve many more companies in manufacturing of these vaccines. It's heartening to note that licences have already been issued to many companies for Covaxin and also for remdesivir. We may have to multiply these efforts.We reiterate our demand for declaring all medical products required to respond to COVID 19 as global public good, and put an end to profiteering to serve the needy in these difficult times", Mahajan says.
SJM is reaching out to the top academicians including vice chancellors, prominent professors, scientists, opinion makers, political personalities, past and present bureaucrats, people in policy making and others separately to sign the petition.