Break Gilead’s monopoly, allow local production of Remdesivir: CPM to Centre

?OUR BUREAU New Delhi | Updated on July 05, 2020 Published on July 05, 2020

The CPI(M) has asked the Centre to break Gilead Sciences’ monopoly and issue compulsory licence to Indian manufacturers to produce anti-viral drug Remdesivir, which has shown efficacy in treating Covid-19 patients. It asked the Centre to immediately invoke Clause 92 of the Patent Act and issue a compulsory licence for the manufacture of the generic version of this drug, which is vital to save lives and effectively combat the pandemic.

Citing media reports, the party alleged that the United States is hoarding all drugs found to be useful in combatting the pandemic and has bought the entire stock of Remdesivir from Gilead for the next three months. “It will therefore not be available for the rest of the world. The price of Remdesivir in the US is $3,000 (₹2.25 lakhs), for a 5-day course. Five Indian companies are in negotiations for manufacturing Remdesivir under Gilead’s licence. After manufacturing in India, Remdesivir will be sold at a ‘concessional’ price of $400 ( ₹30,000-35,000) for the 5-day course. The cost of manufacturing Remdesivir for a full course - as worked out by experts—is less than $10 or ₹750 in the US. And about ₹100 in India. Gilead, by virtue of its patent monopoly, is holding the world to ransom by asking a price that is hundreds of times its cost,” the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said in a statement.

It said though the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has accelerated the approval for the use of Remdesivir in India, with the US buying up the entire stock of Gilead and the high cost due to its patent monopoly, Indian patients will either not get the drug, or if it is available, find the cost prohibitive. “Under Clause 92 of India’s Patent Act, in whose enactment the Left played a pivotal role, India has the right to issue a compulsory license to manufacture the drug in India. Indian generic drug manufacturers have the ability and the will to manufacture the generic Remdesivir version. Under Clause 92A of the Patent Act, compulsory licence can even be issued for export to countries that may require the drug and not have the capability to manufacture it. Given Gilead’s extortionate price for Remdesivir, the Government should immediately issue compulsory licence to a number of Indian manufacturers. Given that India is one of the largest generic drug manufacturers in the world, there should be no reason why this drug cannot be made available rapidly and at affordable prices to the Indian people,” the Left party asked the Centre.

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Published on July 05, 2020
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