By Rehema Nagujja
Advocates for people (AFP) led by their secretary general Moses Kasibante has dragged National drug Authority (NDA) and Professor Ogwang’s Jena Herbals uganda Ltd over illegality produce, sell and distribution of Covidex medicine.
Through his lawyers Mbabaali Jude & co.advocates and Xander advocates, AFP on 13th July 2021, petitioned court to quash the decision made by NDA permitting Jena herbals Uganda Ltd to produce , sell and distribute Covidex drug as communicated to the public in a press release dated the 29th/June/2021 by NDA instead of giving distribution rights to the rightfull owner, Mbarara University of science and technology.
“Court should order of prohibition restraining Jena Herbals uganda Ltd from producing, selling and distributing of Covidex dug.” Kasibante said
He also wants the court to declare that the decision of NDA containing in the said press statement was irrational, illegal , improper , unjustified and reached without due regards to the law and rules of natural justice.
The AFP secretary general wants the right to the patent of the Covidex drug to belong to Mbarara University of science and technology and not Jena Herbals uganda Ltd.
It should be noted that on 29th June 2021 National Drugs Authority (NDA) through it’s executive director Mr. David Nahamya released a press statement that they shared on NDA ‘s website notifying the public that the NDA had approved Covidex as supportive drug in management of vira infection and that it had authorised the Jena products of professor Patrick Ogwang to produce, sell and distribute Covidex which campany is not the rightfull owner or holder of the patent of the drug .
Kasibate sited the 2014 industrial and property Act under section 20(5) and (7) of the said act which enacts that once an employee in the course of his duties innovates anything or any work the pantent belong to the employer.
In line with the Covidex ownership saga, Professor Ogwang is employed by Mbarara University of science and technology (MUST) and was recently promoted to the rank of associate professor in the pharmacy department and that there is no any other contract staling otherwise.
Mbarara University of science and technology released a press statement on 14th/June/2021 signed by the vice Chancellor professor Celestino Obua in which he clearly stated that Mbarara University of science and technology is the intellectual property holder of the drug known as Covidex and also warned a company called Jena herbals Uganda Ltd to stop the production, sell and distribution of Covidex because it is not the rightfull owner of the drug, notifying that research and development of the said drug is the work of Mbarara University through it’s arm called pharm_Biotechnology and traditional medicine center (PHARMBIOTRAC) and the work as dully funded by the government of Uganda and a loan the University applied from world bank.
“….. Unfortunately, the product was leaked to the market before going through all the required procedures, as MUST we value the safety of the population and wish to follow the right procedures, guided by the National regulatory certificate bodies (NDA, UNBS etc.) In the country,” Professor Celestino said
It should also be noted that before National Drug Authority approved the use if Covidex, on 14th/June/2021 through it’s website, they first fronted a statement notifying the public that it had not authorized the produce, sell and distribution of Covidex and no application to have the drug authorized had been received by it from Jena herbals Uganda Ltd
Professor Ogwang him self indicated that Mbarara University of science and technology through pharm_Biotechnology and traditional medicine center (PharmBiotrac) was signed to be the principal investigator on the cure if covid19 using herbal research that aid to the invasion of the said drug called Covidex and that ye research was dully funded by government of Uganda and loan applied for from the world Bank and Mbarara University.
“I wrote to inform the public that Covidex a formula developed by me has undergone only laboratory tests by me and my team of scientist at Mbarara University of science and technology (MUST) for active compounds and safety in laboratory animals only a few people have used it sofar to relieve their symptoms of covid19. This therefore needs more proof that it works against COVID19.
Clinical trials that proves a medicine that a medicine is effective against a disease had not yet been done due to funding limitation but the president of Uganda yoweri Museveni talked to me and (has) given me all support we need to do more work on Covidex. I have linked up with the pharmacutical society of Uganda and itger scientists in MUST to carry out clinical trials so that we may know weather it is beneficial or not. I met with the DNA and agreed that no treatment claims to be on the product untill the clinical trials results are obtained. NDA also advised me to change the product name to a void using words related to covid and I have taken their advise positive.”
Jena Herbals uganda Ltd also informed pharmacy owners and general public that effective of 1st/July/2021 Covidex would be supplied through Rocket health (www.rockethealth.shop), Eco_pharm and spring pharmacy as sales at the factory and well in distribution center in mulago will have been suspended.
Kasibante through Advocate for people (AFP) cries out to court to use the mentioned facts and assertions the action if the NDA to grant the right to produce, sell and distribute Covidex medicine yet it is not their rightfull owner of the patent was not only illegal, procedurally, improper, irrational, unconscionable and unjustifiable but also prejudicial to public interest hence the reason why we have taken this step against the infringer for this court to quash the legal actions.
“Unless court intervene Mbarara University, the government, tax payers and public at large are going to loose as Private gains from patent are going be more prominent that the indented social good and result is that the innocent ugandans are being exorbitantly charged for the medicine contrary to the intention of Mbarara University and government,” Kasibante added
Advocates for people (AFP) also want citizens to access the supportive drug in the management of viral infection cheaply as tax payers.