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"Why not Consider Compulsory Licensing for COVID Drugs like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab?": Supreme Court asks the Central Government

Lawstreet Journal 3 May 2021 8:22pm

Image courtesy: Lawstreet Journal Judiciary "Why not Consider Compulsory Licensing for COVID Drugs like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab?": Supreme Court asks the Central Government

On Friday, the Central Government was questioned by the Supreme Court as to why it was not considering invoking the Patents Act's powers for compulsory licensing or government-authorized use of drugs such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, and Favipiravar, which are used to treat COVID-19 patients.

While hearing the suo moto case on COVID-19 issues, a bench comprised of Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao, and S Ravindra Bhat raised the question (In Re Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services During Pandemic).

"Has the Centre considered invoking Section 92 of the Patents Act and issuing mandatory licences so that drugs can be manufactured while royalties are sorted?", Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General, was questioned by the bench.

The Centre was requested by the Bench to explain why the Court should not issue orders invoking Sections 92 or Section 100 of the Patents Act to allow the manufacture of generic drugs in the case of Remdesivir, Tolicizumab, and other drugs.

Section 92 of the Patents Act is a special provision. In the event of the public health emergency, this section allows the Central Government to issue mandatory licences for the manufacture of patented drugs. Section 100 of the Patents Act allows the Central Government to use patented inventions for government purposes.

During the hearing, Justice Ravindra Bhat stated that, "This is a perfect example of when we should impose mandatory licensing...This is a Public Health Emergency.

Justice  Ravindra Bhat also noted that India was at the forefront of the TRIPS negotiations regarding compulsory licensing provisions, and that the current situation… Continue Reading...


Tagged: Corona Updates  
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