Exempting Covid-19 Vaccines From Intellectual Property Rights Will Improve Global Access And Equity

Publication Information

Journal Title: Indian Politics & Law Review
Author(s): Amisha Prakash & Andlib Imrose
Published On: 16/08/2021
Volume: 6
First Page: 272
Last Page: 276
ISSN: 2581-7086
Publisher: The Law Brigade Publisher

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Amisha Prakash & Andlib Imrose, Exempting Covid-19 Vaccines From Intellectual Property Rights Will Improve Global Access And Equity, Volume 6, Indian Politics & Law Review, 272-276, Published on 16/08/2021, Available at https://iplr.thelawbrigade.com/article/exempting-covid-19-vaccines-from-intellectual-property-rights-will-improve-global-access-and-equity/


India is globally well recognized for its generic drug manufacturing market on which innumerable nations depend for the supply of affordable and cheap drugs. India ranks 3rd in terms of pharmaceutical production by volume and 14th by value worldwide.[i]India is not only acknowledged for drug manufacturing but it is additionally one of the largest vaccine producers in the world. It supplies 62% of the global requirement for vaccines[ii].  The country is now also recognized as the “Pharmacy of the world”. In spite of this, the country is experiencing a scarcity of Covid-19 vaccines and in consequence of this, it is the need of the moment to have recourse to provisions like compulsory licensing.

The provisions for such a measure, called compulsory licensing, are enshrined under chapter 16 of the Indian Patents Act 1970 and under section 31 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (IP) Rights.[iii] Many nations including Canada,[iv] Ecuador,[v]Chile[vi] and Israel[vii] have enacted laws or employed resolutions for the reason of compulsory licensing of Covid-related medicines.

Currently, immunization suggests being the surest and most favourable exit out of Covid-19. Despite a vaccine or vaccines had been developed, still, no pharmaceutical company alone have the capacity to manufacture enough vaccine to meet global demand. One would require manufacturing of around five billion doses to vaccinate the world population, for a single-dose vaccine, in addition to ten billion for a two-dose vaccine.[viii] This would need cross-border licensing, and contract manufacturing and technology transfer deals to be struck by vaccine developers at a range and pace beforehand.

[i] Pharma Industry in India: Pharma Sector Overview, Market Size, Analysis…| IBEF Ibef.org, (Jul 10, 2021; 10:05 PM) https://www.ibef.org/industry/pharmaceutical-india.aspx

[ii] “Invest India” website. (Jul 10, 2021; 10:45 PM) https://www.investindia.gov.in/sector/pharmaceuticals

[iii]Indian Patents Act 1970 and under section 31 TRIPS Article 31 is entitled “[O]there use without authorization of the right holder”.

[iv] COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, S.C. 2020, C-13 (Can.)

[v] Resolution for Compulsory Licensing of Patents Relating to Coronavirus, Comisión Especializada Permanente de Educación, Cultura y Ciencia y Tecnología de la Asamblea Nacional [Education, Culture, Science and Technology Commission of the National Assembly], Mar 20, 2020 (Ecuador).

[vi] Proyecto de Resolución N° 896, Resolution for Involuntary Licensing of Patents Relating to Coronavirus, Cámara de Diputadas y Diputados [Chamber of Deputies], Mar. 17, 2020 (Chile).

[vii] Kass D. Israel Defies AbbVie IP to Import Generic Drugs For COVID-19. (Jul 10, 2021; 11:15PM) https://www.law360.com/articles/1255079?scroll=1&related=1.

[viii]Pharma Industry in India: Invest in Indian Pharma Sector (Jul 11, 2021; 12:02 AM) http://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Year-in-Review-2020?WT.mc_id=20201222100000_YIR2020_BG-TW_&WT.tsrc=BGTW

Keywords: Covid-19 Vaccines, Generic Drugs, IP Rights, Patent

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