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Glad That Modi Govt Making All Efforts To Ramp Up Vaccine Production: Gadkari

Sputnik V has been approved to be imported from Russia by Dr Reddy's but is yet to be widely available in the country.

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma

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Clarifying his position on the COVID-19 vaccine issue, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said he is glad that the Modi government is making all efforts to ramp up its production.

The minister, at the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch function on Tuesday, said more pharma companies should be allowed to make COVID-19 vaccines in the country during the pandemic to scale up production, which evoked political response from the opposition parties.

'Yesterday (Tuesday)... I had made a suggestion to ramp up vaccine production. I was unaware that before my speech, Minister for Chemical and Fertilisers Shri @mansukhmandiya had explained government's efforts to ramp up.

'After conference, he also informed me that, GoI is already facilitating vaccine manufacturing by 12 different plants/companies and rapid ramp-up of production is expected in near future as a result of these efforts,' the road transport and highways minister said in a series of tweets.

Gadkari added that he was unaware that the chemical and fertiliser ministry has started these efforts before he had given suggestion on Tuesday.

'I am glad and congratulate him and his team for this timely intervention in the right direction. I feel important to put this on record,' Gadkari said.

On Tuesday, Gadkari had said he will also request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring a law for allowing more pharma companies to manufacture life-saving drugs by paying 10 per cent royalty to the patent holder of the drug.

'If the demand of vaccine is more than its supply then it creates a problem. So, instead of one company, 10 more companies should be allowed to make vaccines by paying 10 per cent royalty to the original patent holder of the vaccine,' he had said.

Recently, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to the prime minister, saying the Centre should share the vaccine formula of the two manufacturers with other capable pharmaceutical companies to scale up production in the country.

There are two vaccine makers in the country currently -- Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India -- which are manufacturing Covaxin and Covishield, respectively.

These two firms can be given royalty from the profit of other companies for the use of their original formulas, Kejriwal had said.

Only three vaccines have so far been approved to be sold in India --- Covaxin, Coveshield and Sputnik.

Sputnik V has been approved to be imported from Russia by Dr Reddy's but is yet to be widely available in the country.

(PTI)