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Acute Vaccine Shortage Has Put People's Lives At Serious Risk: Ficci

The chamber said in the larger and long-term interest of the country, India should not rush to do anything unilaterally that may undermine its present efforts to arrive at a multilateral solution on this issue

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Industry chamber Ficci on Thursday said at present there is a wide mismatch between demand and supply of COVID-19 vaccines in the country and its acute shortage has put lives of people at serious risk.

It further said the country faces a stiff challenge of ensuring swift access to affordable vaccines and medicines for prevention of the pandemic and treatment of COVID-19 patients.

'Currently, there is a wide mismatch of demand and supply of vaccines in the country. Acute shortage of vaccines has put the lives of our people including the doctors, health service providers and other essential workers at serious risk and has exacerbated the crisis,' the chamber said in a statement.

In view of the increasing infections, it is critical to augment the availability of vaccines on a war footing, it added.

The chamber also said the provision of compulsory licensing must be used cautiously and with utmost discretion.

'If not used judiciously, it may discourage innovator companies, which have heavily invested in R&D, and turn out to be counterproductive to the present situation,' Ficci said.

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), a member country is allowed to issue compulsory licenses to permit a company to produce a patented product or process without the consent of the patent owner or plans to use the patent-protected invention itself.

It is one of the flexibilities in the field of patent protection included in the WTO's agreement on intellectual property -- the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement.

Further, the chamber said in the larger and long-term interest of the country, India should not rush to do anything unilaterally that may undermine its present efforts to arrive at a multilateral solution on this issue.

'The immediate focus has to be on connecting with the right global companies to facilitate technology transfer and voluntary licenses to Indian companies that have the capacity and capability for mass-production of COVID vaccines,' it added. 

(PTI)


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