SJM seeks cancellation of Gilead’s patents for Covid-19 drug remdesivir

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 07, 2020

Asks Centre to ensure acceptance of its joint proposal with South Africa at the WTO for waiving certain provisions of TRIPS to ensure availability of affordable medical products during the pandemic

Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the economic affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has asked the Centre to initiate measures for the cancellation of the patent on remdesivir, the crucial medicine used in the treatment of Covid-19, so that it becomes more affordable.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the organisation also proposed that India should put all its might behind ensuring that the India-South Africa proposal at the World Trade Organisation for waiving certain provisions of the intellectual property agreement TRIPS to facilitate availability of affordable medical products to fight the pandemic gets accepted by the General Council.

SJM accused Gilead Sciences of using its wrongly obtained patent on remdesivir to control competition. Though Gilead granted seven voluntary licenses to Indian generic companies there is no substantial reduction of prices, the letter stated. While researchers have calculated the cost of Remdesivir per vile at less than $1 (₹75), the Indian prices are between ₹4,000 and ₹5,400 primarily because of the IP protection granted to it, it added.

“SJM also requests you to initiate measures under Section 66 of the Patents Act for the cancellation of the patent on Remdesivir, which was granted against the provisions of the Indian Patents Act,” proposed the letter written by Ashwini Mahajan, co-convener, SJM.

Waiver of TRIPS provision

Congratulating the government for the joint proposal to the WTO seeking waiver of certain TRIPS provisions to facilitate the availability of affordable medical products at the time of Covid-19, the letter said that the proposal was the need of the hour as humanity needs access to affordable medical products to effectively respond to the Covid-19.

“SJM urges you to take all the necessary steps for the adoption of the proposal at the WTO General Council. Towards this purpose, we request you to reach out to all the like-minded countries for the support of the proposal and create a broad coalition for the adoption of the waiver of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement,” it added.

Published on October 07, 2020

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