Campaign for patent waiver, tech transfer of COVID-19 vaccines, medicines launched

New Delhi, May 12 (UNI) The Swadeshi Jagran Manch has launched an online petition campaign for impressing upon the government and international trade organisations the urgent need to ensure universal access to medicines and vaccines against Covid-19.

The petition observes that shortage of vaccines and medicines is being faced chiefly because large scale production is inhibited due to patent laws.

The petition makes four demands for easing patent laws for facilitating large scale production of medicines and vaccines required in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic:

1) WTO should grant relaxations in the TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights)provisions, so as to enable large scale manufacture of medicines and vaccines needed for countering Covid-19.

2) Global Pharma Companies should voluntarily give patent free rights including technology transfer, passcodes to other Pharma manufacturers.

3) The government should take necessary steps including using its sovereign rights to grant compulsory licences to other pharma manufacturers.

4) Other individuals and organisations should come forward to facilitate universal access to vaccines and medicines to fight the pandemic. Speaking to UNI, Akhil Bhartiya Prachar Pramukh of Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) Deepak Sharma said “we aim to collect 40 lakh signatures and present this petition at the TRIPS meet of WTO which is scheduled to take place from June 6 to 8,”

Sharma further explains “government should intervene to ensure technology transfer, Patent (amendment) Act 2005 which gives permission for the same, under global treaties too these are permissible and for this prior precedents exist.”

He points out that about 195 crore doses of the vaccine would be required to vaccinate at least 70% of the Indian population, something that cannot be done by twotwo-three companies alone. He stresses that introducing competition is the best way to lower prices of vaccines and patent protection is the major barrier to generic production of vaccines.

Apart from vaccines even medicines that are used in covid treatment are in short supply, Sharma explains

“Remdeshivir, Favirapvir are locally manufactured but it is inadequate to meet the scale of demand, Remdeshivir, even after voluntary price reduction its price ranges from Rs 899 to 3490 per vial. Public is reeling under corporate greed Swadeshi Jagran Manch wants price ceiling of these medicines.

Tocilizumab which is another important medicine for treatment of Covid-19 patients is being sold at Rs 40,000 per vial, it is not produced in India and its supply is inadequate to meet domestic demand.”

The petition can be accessed at www.joinswadeshi.com.

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