Two health advocacy groups have written to the Indian government asking it to rescind patents given to Gilead Sciences for the drug remdesivir so it can be distributed more fairly to coronavirus patients around the world, particularly in poorer nations.
Drug patents in India are an important issue as many countries depend on generic drugmakers to make and sell cheaper versions of critical drugs to them. Gilead's three patents in India for remdesivir stem from 2009 when the drug was in development to treat Ebola.
Gilead’s patents on remdesivir in India allow it to exclusively make and sell the drug in the country until 2035 unless it licenses those rights out.
Gilead’s India spokeswoman and India’s commerce and health ministries did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.