May 16, 2021

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Cap Covid-19 Medicines, vax Pricing, Mandatory Production Scaling License Issue: RSS’s SJM to Government

Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has urged the center to provide a regulatory permit for domestic production of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, impose price caps for Covid-19 drugs and vaccines, and use provisions in India’s patent law such as compulsory licensing to expand production of drugs like Remdesivir Faviracire, Tociluzumab, and new drugs like Molnupiravir, amid soaring Covid-19 cases in the country.

“Introducing competition is the best way to lower prices. In a statement on Sunday, SJM said that patent protection is the main barrier to generic production of these drugs, and suggested that the government use public health safeguards in the patent law and allow more companies to produce these drugs.”

According to Ashwani Mahajan, Co-National Coordinator for SJM, although local production of Remdesivir and Favirapvir is underway, the quantity available is “very insufficient” to meet the growing demand due to the severity of the problem.

Another important drug for treating Covid-19 patients suffering from a fatal “cell storm” is tocilizumab, which is not produced in India. Mahajan said in the statement that the import of this drug is extremely inadequate to meet the requirements.

Although seven Indian companies manufacture Remdesivir under a voluntary license, he said the quantity is not enough to meet demand, and the price is too high from an affordability point of view.

Explaining that the price of Remdesivir is still very high and ranges between 899-3490 rupees per bottle and a cost of Tocilizumab is 40,000 rupees per bottle, he said, “Under the current scenario, the general public is swung under the greed of the company, which should be curbed at all costs.”

He said, “Issue a government use license under Article 100 or a mandatory license under Article 92 to increase the production of drugs such as Remdesivir, Faviracire, Tociluzumab and new drugs such as Molnupiravir.”

In the case of the vaccine, SJM said the country needs nearly 195 crores doses to cover at least 70% of the population, which cannot be achieved by the two companies – Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech alone and there is an “urgent need to bring in More manufacturers to start production. ”

SJM has called for easier transfer of vaccine technology, including trade secrets to all potential manufacturers to scale production of Covaxin and Covishield and suggested that the government license large-scale production of the vaccine to more pharmaceutical companies with technological capabilities, rather than a few companies.

Citing the urgent need to invoke measures such as price caps for these drugs, SJM said that the vaccine prices the two companies have declared for government government purchases and private hospitals “are prohibitive and are affecting the acceleration of vaccination in the country.”

The organization also suggested that India transfer technologies for drug and vaccine production globally and express the need to waive intellectual property and facilitate technology transfer in all relevant international fora at the global level and accelerate diplomatic efforts in the G7 and G20, and other groupings.

SJM said: “SJM strongly denounces the statement of the global leader of the company, Bill Gates, that the vaccine formula should not be shared with India and other countries,” describing it as “another manifestation of companies’ greed to take advantage of the worst epidemic of the century” and that the unreasonable profit of medicines and vaccines It cannot be justified in all circumstances, and especially in the case of an epidemic.