Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA) believes that just simple waiving of Patents for Vaccines is not enough for increased and free availability of Vaccines in India. What is more important is the grant of “Voluntary Licenses (VL)” by the Patent holders to Indian Companies with sufficient expertise in this field. Example of Astra Zeneca and Serum Institute is already a successful working model. Other Vaccine developers need to come forward and similarly transfer technology to Indian Companies against reasonable Royalties.
At the same time in case of Pharmaceutical Products (including APIs) which are directly or indirectly used for treatment of the present Covid pandemic, there is an urgent need for the IP rights to be waived at the worldwide level to boost their production and ensure there are no shortages anywhere in the world. Recent shortages of Remdesivir in India is a wake-up call. Capacities of all medicines connected with this pandemic should be ramped up to ensure free availability at reasonable prices.
WTO has also provided provision of Compulsory Licensing (CL) just for tackling such an eventuality. Our Government should not feel shy in invoking this very thoughtful provision in the interest of humanity and our citizens. In view of current suffering of humanity all over the world, urgent action needs to be taken by the world coming together to ensure free flow of technology till the virus is eradicated.