SJM asks govt to revoke Remdesivir's patent
Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has asked the government to revoke the patent granted to Gilead Sciences for Remdesivir, a crucial medicine used in the treatment of Covid-19, so that it becomes more affordable. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, SJM’s national co-convener Ashwani Mahajan urged the government to initiate measures “under Section 66 of the Patents Act for the cancelation of the patent on Remdesivir, which was granted against the provisions of the Indian Patents Act”.
This move from the organisation - that promotes national self-reliance and have been raising issues related to patent and drug pricing – comes in the wake of India’s recent proposal to World Trade Organisation (WTO) seeking waiver of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement to facilitate availability of affordable medical products for effective prevention, containment, and treatment of Covid-19.
Endorsing India’s global stand, Mahajan said the proposal is the “need of the hour” where humanity needs access to affordable medical products to effectively respond to the Covid challenge.
“Though so much public money has been channelized for the development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics the companies who are developing these products are not ready to share the know-how and other IP rights to facilitate generic production,” the SJM wrote in its letter, adding that “India has been a victim of such greed”.
“In the absence of a large number of manufacturers, it would be impossible to meet the needs of the medical products required for the COVID19 response,” it said, urging the government to “put an end to the greed of pharmaceutical transnational corporations”.
Contending that though Gilead has entered into voluntary licensing agreement with seven generic manufacturers for Remdesivir, it has not resulted in any substantial price reduction, SJM said.
“While the researchers have calculated the cost of Remdesivir per vial is less than a US dollar which is Rs 75, the Indian prices are between Rs 4000 and 5400,” it claimed, adding that “IP protection is the primary reason for this”.