Pharma cos seek emergency nod to manufacture key Covid drug

An application for emergency approval, which is being construed as a compulsory license, could override the patent and open up production to other companies, who do not have existing tie-ups with Gilead. This would help in easing the drug's availability, and help bring prices down.

Mumbai: In a bid to increase the availability and affordability of antiviral drug, Remdesivir, the pharma industry has sought emergency approval to manufacture the Covid-19 drug, from the government. Remdesivir, being used extensively in Covid-19 therapy, is protected by a patent held by US company Gilead, with seven domestic companies holding the manufacturing license.

An application for emergency approval, which is being construed as a compulsory license, could override the patent and open up production to other companies, who do not have existing tie-ups with Gilead. This would help in easing the drug’s availability, and help bring prices down.

With the huge rise in Covid-19 infections, domestic companies have not been able to meet the soaring demand, leading to overcharging and black marketing. The Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association has said in a communication to India’s Drugs Controller General “in light of the emergency situation prevailing, we request (you) to allow emergency approval to all those companies holding licenses for export of the said product and also have three months’ stability data”.

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