Writ petition filed to provide CL for Covid drugs, manage vaccine

Non-governmental organisation Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court, looking for a direction to the Union government to issue compulsory licences (CLs) for key Covid-19 drugs such as remdesivir, tocilizumab and favipiravir. A CL will allow business with capabilities to make these drugs.The petitioner made the health ministry, the Drugs Controller General of India, National Pharma Rates Authority and Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, to name a few, party to the matter. Another petition appealed to the court to intervene in launching the technical knowledge of vaccine production and bringing the rate of Covid-19 vaccine under the Drug Cost Control Order to jail profiteering by pharma companies.Hyderabad-based drugmakerfiled a different petition, looking for a mandatory licence for speculative Covid-19 drugs baricitinib and molunupiravir. “The drugs remdesevir, favipiravir, and tocilizumab are safeguarded by patents which stand till a minimum of 2030. The restricted variety of manufacturers when it comes to remdesivir and the complete dependence on imports in the case of tocilizumab is a recipe to intensify the existing nationwide health emergency,” said the petition submitted by JSA.Under Area 100 of the Patents Act, the Centre can authorise anyone to utilize a trademarked invention for the functions of the government. When it comes to remdesivir, favipiravir and tocilizumab, this power might also be exercised to authorise entities to produce these trademarked drugs. The petition made the argument that under section 92 the Centre has explicit powers to inform CL for a patent in situations of nationwide emergency situation, extreme seriousness or public non-commercial usage.”That Covid-19 is a public health emergency situation and the government is bound to provide an order of federal government authorization under area 100 or a required license for non-commercial public use under area 92( 1 ), of Patents Act to react to a national emergency situation and guarantee continued access to favipiravir, remdesivir and tocilizumab,” stated the petition prepared by Rajeshwari Hariharan and Anand Grover.Other countries that have released CL for remdesivir consist of Russia and Hungary. Over the past couple of weeks, lacks of key Covid drugs such as remdesivir, tocilizumab and favipiravir have been reported. This week US-based Gilead Sciences, which manufactures remdesivir, said it was going to provide 450,000 vials of the drug to India. Roche stated it was ramping up production of tocilizumab but need surpassed supply. There are 7 domestic makers of remdesivir, but tocilizumab is an imported drug that is distributed by regional drug maker Cipla.

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