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‘Suspend patents on Covid-19 drugs in India to ensure accessibility & affordability’ – Home Health Choices

Mumbai: India ought to take into account briefly proscribing and suspending mental property, together with patents and designs, on all Covid-19 medical merchandise like diagnostics, medicines and vaccines, in accordance with public well being specialists. This, they are saying, may very well be one of many methods to make sure accessibility and affordability of key life-saving medication for Covid-19 to not solely sufferers in India however to tens of millions the world over.

Patent and public well being specialists instructed TOI that India is a particular case due to its big inhabitants and it’s accountability because the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’. It is important that it be capable to meet the wants of its personal inhabitants to entry secure and efficient Covid-19 medicines and vaccines. But it additionally wants authorized freedom to supply large surpluses that may be exported to different nations, particularly decrease and middle-income nations liable to being left behind due to the surge of ‘vaccine and therapeutic nationalism’ in US and Europe, they added.

This might nicely be one of many methods of guaranteeing accessibility and affordability of medicine/vaccines, and to forestall situations of shortages of potential medicines going ahead. A living proof is the scarcity and consequent worth gouging being witnessed throughout cities within the case of Gilead’s Remdesivir and Roche’s Tocilizumab, placing many sufferers via hardship.

Similar measures are additionally being taken up by nations within the European Union, South America and South Africa.

Leena Menghaney from Medecins Sans Frontieres mentioned: “To address intellectual property (IP) barriers, Indian government should consider restricting and automatically licensing all IP including patents and designs on all Covid-19 medical tools including diagnostics, devices, medicines and vaccine as the pandemic is a public health emergency and time cannot be wasted on lengthy negotiations and legal challenges. Chile has already introduced legislation, and Germany introduced the Epidemic Protection Act, which provides for measures to restrict German patents covering pharmaceuticals or medical devices. This would immediately allow open competition and increase access to medical tools needed to detect, treat and prevent the dreaded disease”

India’s patent and drug regulatory legal guidelines have helped shield and market price-lowering generic competitors, a lot in order that it’s known as the “pharmacy of the developing world”. It provides over one-third of life-saving medication globally. A majority of medicines for dreaded ailments like tuberculosis, HIV and malaria are inexpensive generics made right here.

“The most pragmatic solution for India would be to adopt emergency rules and streamlined procedures to allow automatic, mandatory, or presumptive compulsory licenses that could override granted and pending patents on any and all Covid-19 related medical products. At the same time governments could allow for exceptions to data protection and trade secret rights where they present barriers to generic and biosimilar companies being able to make therapeutic equivalent products. Countries like India with robust manufacturing capacity should also grant automatic licenses allowing for export of unlimited quantities of medical products to countries that lack meaningful domestic capacity. To do so, they should rely on TRIPS Article 30. Even if countries do adopt such powerful compulsory licensing regimes, they have to overcome their own self-imposed reluctance — or informal moratoriums as in India — to issue compulsory licenses”, Professor Brook Ok Baker of Northeastern U School of Law and senior coverage analyst, Health GAP (Global Access Project), mentioned.

Agreeing with the transfer to side-step patents, Prathibha Sivasubramanian, authorized researcher Third World Network mentioned “For repurposed drugs (like remdesivir), price control should be brought in and generic production allowed”.

Earlier, civil society and NGOs have additionally highlighted how excessive costs and monopolies of patented medicines have undermined entry to remedy of HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis C within the growing world.

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