Medicines free of patent rights?

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The coronavirus has engulfed the world in its vengeance and vaccination seems to be the only hope currently. Since the Spanish Flu, Covid-19 is by far the deadliest infection to have been inflicted upon mankind. And when I say vaccination, it does not mean to get the jab individually but to administer the same at a global level simultaneously. Many countries in the world are on the verge of fully vaccinating their people and a few smaller nations have even completed the process already. This is necessary in order to generate herd immunity against the virus. For instance, I may not have been vaccinated yet and hence am a right candidate to either be infected by the virus or become an asymptomatic spreader and a slight percentage chance where I avoid the virus by not coming into contact for as long as I can. The same goes for the people around me – the ones I had or may meet on a regular basis once the lockdowns are lifted. After vaccination, however, my chances of being infected or becoming a carrier lowers down substantially, thereby ensuring safety for me and for people around me.
This is the prime reason why every nation is busy vaccinating its respective citizens and bringing down the global infection toll. People coming back to their normal lives is inevitable and we must prepare for a future with masks and sanitizers. Having said this, we would require a good number of vaccines in order to speed up the current vaccination process. India’s vaccination rate, not one of the fastest, suffers due to the shortage of vaccine supply and the ever-increasing demand. Though the government has finally allowed private hospitals to administer a dose of vaccination on payment, yet being one of the most populated countries, India is still way behind its hundred percent mark. Developed nations, on the other hand, given their foresightedness and spending capacity, had pre-booked enough vaccines beforehand to steer off the vaccination process smoothly and fast. At the same time, populous developing countries are finding it hard to procure the vaccines in required numbers. The Indian government, too busy sun-basking in their false glory of handling the first wave tactfully, was left shortsighted when the time for vaccination came.
Now the current shortage of vaccines even during such dire times is actually man-made. Pharma companies in respective countries such as our Serum Institute of India own the patents to the vaccine. They possess the formula to produce the vaccine, other pharma companies cannot produce the same as they do not have the patented formula. Given the vaccine crisis faced by the developing countries, wouldn’t it be a justified step to waive off the patent rights over life-saving vaccines and medicines. Over the years many people have been voicing against the government working under corporations to control medicines and pharmaceuticals. Now, would be the right time to take action on the issue. If the formula is shared, other companies can start replicating the same and at least sort the problem of shortage. Rejuvenating public institutions capable of producing medicines and vaccines is the need of the hour for India.

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