RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch has asked the government to take immediate steps to increase the production of Covid-19 vaccines by allowing more companies to manufacture them. It has sought a reduction in the prices of medicines commonly used in the course of Covid-19 treatment, such as Remdesivir.
SJM also criticised Bill Gates’ recent comment against sharing intellectual property rights on vaccines with developing countries. “This is nothing but yet another manifestation of corporate greed to profit from worst pandemic of the century,” it said.
“The country needs nearly 195 crore doses to cover at least 70% of the population. This cannot be fulfilled by the two companies alone. There is an urgent need to bring more manufactures to start the production. To facilitate the technology transfer, Government has to take measures to overcome the intellectual property barriers including patent and trade secret,” SJM said in a statement.
It urged the government to treat all medical products required to respond to Covid-19 as a “global public good”.
“There is an urgent need to invoke measures like ceiling of the prices of these medicines. The prices of vaccine announced by both companies for the state government procurement and private hospitals are exorbitant and affect the acceleration of vaccination in the country. Unreasonable profit for medicines and vaccines are unjustifiable in all circumstances, especially in a pandemic,” SJM said.
In the case of medicines required to treat coronavirus infections, the outfit said the government must use safeguards in the Patents Act to bring prices down.