Lauding India’s tough stand on the patents issue, RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) today asked the government not to give in to US pressure and urged it to make provisions for liberal and automatic compulsory licencing of pharma products.
Noting that India is known as the ‘Pharmacy of the World’ for providing cheap medicines for those affected by blood cancer, HIV-AIDS and other serious diseases, SJM said it should frame policies responsibly.
“We demand that there should be a liberal provision for granting automatic compulsory licence for other pharma products provided that a domestic producer is ready to produce and supply at one-fourth of the price of the patented product, giving reasonable royalty to the patent holder,” SJM co-convener Ashwani Mahajan told PTI.
He said that due to its responsibility towards humanity, “the government has rightfully dismissed the (Barack) Obama administration’s pressure completely and has clearly refused to give in”. It further alleged that the previous government, however, “could not gather courage” in this regard.
“SJM welcomes the central government’s decision to not relax provisions related to the issue of compulsory licensing and Section 3(d) of the Patent Act relating to not granting re-patent of pharma products, dismissing the pressure from the US government and pharma lobby.
“The Manch urges the central government that when it frames rules in this regard, it should continue with the same forthrightness and make no compromises. There are many patented, costly life-saving medicines and the Manch urges the government to be liberal in its policy of automatic and compulsory licensing,” he said.
Mahajan said that the government has been sensitive to the rising cost of healthcare and 40 per cent of the patients are able to get treatment for such ailments as blood cancer, HIV-AIDS and other serious diseases only due to the cheap medicines provided by India.
So far, only one compulsory licence has been issued to NATCO and the Manch said that the NDA government should issue more such licences to pharma units to help ensure cheaper medicines and healthcare in the country.