Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox
I have already subscribed | Do not show this message again
Your email has been successfully registered.
A few days before the Biden administration showed support for India's bid to waive patents for COVID-19 vaccines, Bill Gates publicly opposed sharing such patents with developing countries. His remarks have raised a wave of anger in India, currently battling a devastating second coronavirus wave.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the economic branch of a nationalist organization in India, protested against Bill Gates in New Delhi on Friday over his recent remarks against waiving intellectual property rights (IPR) on vaccine patents, which would enable developing nations to use the ingredients and produce their own versions.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch is the economic branch of Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Dr. Ashwani Mahajan, national co-convener of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, said that in the present circumstances, when everyone on Earth is affected by the pandemic, there's an acute shortage of essential medicines. Vaccination is deemed the only way to keep large populations safe; trying to block equitable access to vaccines and drugs is not just deplorable; it is a crime against humanity.
His colleague, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch's national convener, R Sundaram, said that even those developed countries that initially tried to block the waiver for patent rights for coronavirus vaccines and medicines changed their minds given the global situation. He added that those countries now support India's and South Africa's proposal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The stance of multinational corporations and Bill Gates - whose foundation invested heavily in producing a vaccine - is hardly positive.
"They are making all-out efforts to maximize their profits by exploiting the worst situation faced by mankind, especially by developing and poor countries. It is worth noting that 100 countries support India’s proposal," he said.
Jagran Manch also insisted that India's government should either issue a license under Section 100 or a compulsory license under section 92 to increase production of coronavirus medicines such as Remdesivir, Faviracire, Tocilizumab, and new drugs such as Molnupiravir.
"The government should facilitate technology transfer of vaccines including the trade secrets to all potential manufacturers to scale up the production of Covaxin and Covishield. And vaccine production should be licensed to more pharma companies with technological capabilities instead of a few companies," said another SJM representative, Kashmiri Lal.
The protesters stated that the government should highlight the need to waive IP and facilitate technology transfer in all relevant international forums at the global level and accelerate diplomatic efforts at G7, G20, and other groups, said the protesters.