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Issue compulsory licences for manufacture of an affordable generic version of Remdesivir, CPI (M) tells govt.

7th July, 2020 Society


- The Political Bureau of the CPI (M) has said that the government should issue compulsory licences for the manufacture of a generic version of Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug being used to treat COVID-19 patients.

Demand of opposition:

- Government should invoke Clause 92 of the Patent Act that allows it to issue compulsory licences so that Indian manufacturers can produce a more affordable generic version.

- Gilead Sciences’ anti-viral drug Remdesivir has shown efficacy in treating COVID-19 patients.

- Since US has hoarded all the drugs stock for next three months, it will not be available for other countries.

Price of Drug:

- While the price of the drug was ₹2.25 lakh or $3,000 in the U.S., Indian companies were in talks for manufacturing under a Gilead’s licence for sale at ₹30,000-₹35,000.

- The cost of manufacturing Remdesivir for a full course — as worked out by experts — is less than $10 or ₹750 in the U.S. 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.

Compulsory Licensing:

- It allows governments to license third parties (that is, parties other than the patent holders) to produce and market a patented product or process without the consent of patent owners.

- Regulated under Indian Patent act 1970.

- It can be provided after three years of sealing of patents in cases:

  1. Reasonable requirements of public have not been satisfied;
  2. Patented invention is not available to public at a reasonably affordable price;
  3. Patented inventions are not carried out in India.

- A compulsory license can be acquired by any interested person.

- India has issued only one compulsory license so far: It was given in 2012 to Natco, for Bayer's cancer drug Nexavar.

- They have been part of TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement since beginning.

Clause 92 of Patent act:

- Clause 92 of the Patent Act states that the Central Government in circumstances of national emergency or in circumstances of extreme urgency can issue the compulsory licenses for any patent in force.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/issue-compulsory-licences-for-manufacture-of-an-affordable-generic-version-of-remdesivir-cpim-tells-govt/article31994596.ece