The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in a press statement has called upon the Centre to break the patent monopoly of Gilead Sciences on the anti-viral drug Remdesivir which has been found to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The party has also requested the government to issue a compulsory licence for the manufacture of the generic version of this drug.
Citing media reports, the statement said that there are indications that “the US, which
is hoarding all drugs found to be useful in combatting the Covid pandemic, has bought the entire stock of Remdesivir from Gilead for the next three months. It will therefore not be available for the rest of the world.”
Even though the price of Remdesivir in the US is equivalent to Rs 2.25 lakh for a five-day course, Indian companies can manufacture the drug at the cost of Rs 750 for the full course as per experts, the statement said. In such a scenario, there is possibility that the drug could be sold at a concessional price of Rs 30,000-35,000 for the same five-day course in India. Five companies are already in negotiations for
manufacturing Remdesivir under Gilead’s license. However, due to the patent monopoly of Gilead, it is holding the world at ransom, according to CPI(M).
The Left party has therefore requested the central government to use Clause 92 of India’s Patent Act, which was enacted after a sustained movement by the Left and under which the State can issue a compulsory license to manufacture the drug in the country. Not only that, “under Clause 92A of the Patent Act, compulsory license can even be issued for export to countries that may require the drug and not have the capability to manufacture it,” the statement added.
Terming Gilead’s price as extortionate and given that India is one of the largest generic drug manufacturers in the world, it is crucial that this drug be made available rapidly and at affordable prices to the Indian people to combat the current pandemic, the PB statement further said.