SJM says vax drive will hit roadblock if patent laws aren’t altered

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SJM says vax drive will hit roadblock if patent laws aren’t altered

Bengaluru: Economist and national executive council member of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), B.M. Kumaraswamy, said on Tuesday that vaccines are being manufactured by only two companies in India, and hence it would be difficult to vaccinate the entire country in a short duration of time.

Addressing a virtual press conference, Kumaraswamy said that more companies will have to start manufacturing vaccines immediately otherwise it would not be possible to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of the 18+ population.

“We need at least 200 crore doses to vaccinate 70 per cent of our population. For this, there is an urgent need for large scale production, for which international technology will be needed. Measures would be required to facilitate the transfer of technology and to overcome the barriers related to intellectual property rights, including patents and trade secrets,” he explained.

Kumaraswamy alleged that with big companies having monopoly rights on medicines and vaccines for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19 due to patents, these are not accessible to everyone.

“Right to life of humans is a universal fundamental right. Therefore, the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch appeals to the people across the country to launch a campaign demanding transfer of technology of these vaccines and medicines by making them patent-free,” he argued.

He added that already about 120 countries have supported the proposal of the Union government made in the World Trade Organization, along with South Africa, to facilitate patent-free vaccines and medicines.

“We strongly urge the countries, companies and individual groups opposing this proposal to stop opposing it in the interest of humanity without any delay,” he said.

Replying to a question, Kumaraswamy said that so far nearly six lakh people have signed a petition in a digital signature campaign from India and 20 other countries demanding the World Trade Organization to expedite steps to relax the provisions of intellectual property rights.

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1 Comment

  1. The problem was not with the patent issue of manufacturing the vaccines. But the central government was not allowing other vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johson to manufacturer vaccines in India. The government wanted only SII & Bharat biotech to manufacture their vaccine and both these companies were not capable to get the required output. They could do a maximum of 6 crores per month vaccines for a population of 132 crores matching the price band set by the government.

    After the deaths of so many people, the government allowed on 1 June 2021 for all companies to manufacture vaccines. Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J have manufacturing facilities in India and they could have easily done and supplied locally as well worldwide. Pfizer already did a joint venture with Fosun chemical of China and will mass-produce and sell worldwide.

    The delay of the Indian government in permitting companies whose vaccines were approved by WHO to manufacture in India was the main reason why the vaccination was less and also for the death of so many people. The government realized its fallacy finally. Every time we realize the mistake when deaths start to mount. Be it demonetization, bank bankruptcy, lockdown, or vaccination. Hope better judgement prevails in future than false rhetoric

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