Press Release Issued on 02-05-2021
May 02, 2021
Swadeshi Jagran Manch
“Dharamakshetra, Sector-8, R.K. Puram, New Delhi
Ph. 011-26184595, Web: www.swadeshionline.in
Issued on 02-05-2021
The second wave of COVID is sweptwing the country and the number of new cases on each day has crossed 4 lakhs. There is an urgent need for various medical products to effectively respond to the second wave of pandemic especially medicines and vaccines to be made available at affordable prices in the country. 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.
Though there is a voluntary price reduction for Remdesivir it is still very high and ranges between Rs 899 and Rs 3490 per vial. Reports in this regard state the cost of the full course of Remedsivir including reasonable profit is around USD 9 i.e. around Rs 666. On the other hand, the cost of Tocilizumab is Rs 40000 per vial. Under the present scenario the general public is reeling under the corporate greed, which needs to be curbed at any cost.
In this context, Swadeshi Jagran Manch 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 worst pandemic of the century. There is an urgent need to invoke measures like ceiling of the prices of these medicines. The prices of vaccine 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.
Introduction of the competition is the best way to lowering the prices. Patent protection is the major barrier to the generic production of these medicines. Though 7 Indian companies are making Remdesivir under the voluntary license the quantity is not enough to meet the demand, and the price is very high from the point of view of affordability. Government should use the public health safeguards in the Patents Act and permit more companies to produce these medicines in the coming days.
In the case of vaccine, the country needs nearly 195 crores of doses to cover at least 70% of the population. This cannot be fulfilled by the two companies alone. There is an urgent need to bring more manufactures to start the production. To facilitate the technology transfer, Government has to take measures to overcome the intellectual property barriers including patent and trade secret.
The government of India should treat all medical products to respond to COVID 19 as a global public good and take the following measures to translate the idea of a global public good into a reality.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch calls upon the patriotic citizens to raise their voice against the global profiteers along with serving the needy in these difficult times.
Against this background Swadeshi Jagran Manch strongly urge the Government of India to:
- Issue either government use license under Section 100 or compulsory licence under section 92 to scale up production of medicines like Remdesivir, Faviracire, Tociluzumab and new medicines like Molnupiravir.
- Facilitate technology transfer of vaccines including the trade secrets to all potential manufacturers to scale up the production of Covaxin and Covishield.
- License vaccine production widely to more pharma companies with technological capabilities, instead of a few companies.
- Provide the regulatory clearance to start the local production of the Sputnik V vaccine.
- Impose ceiling of prices of COVID19 medicines and vaccines taking into account the cost of production based formula.
- Transfer the technologies for the production of medicines and vaccine globally.
- Articulate the need to waiver of IP and facilitation of technology transfer in all relevant international forums at the global level and accelerate diplomatic efforts at G7, G20 and other groupings.
Dr. Ashwani Mahajan
National Co Convenor