The Russian government on December 30, 2021 approved the extension for one year of a decree originally issued last year to grant Russian drugmaker Pharmasyntez permission to produce and sell the antiviral drug remdesivir, citing the need to protect its citizens.
Pharmasyntez asked the government to allow it to produce a generic version of U.S. COVID-19 drug remdesivir in November 2020 without consent from U.S. company Gilead Sciences that holds the patent.
Russia’s Supreme Court in May rejected a lawsuit from Gilead Sciences that challenged the decision to let Pharmasyntez develop and market remdesivir.
The governmental decree published on December 30 said Pharmasyntez has to pay compensation to the drug’s patent-holder, without specifying the amount.
Remdesivir, originally developed to treat hepatitis C, has been approved in the United States and dozens of countries to help treat COVID-19.
Pharmasyntez produces remdesivir under the name Remdeform. A shipment of the drug was sent by Russia to India as part of a delivery of humanitarian aid.
Pharmasyntez has registered Remdeform for a maximum price of 7,400 rubles ($100), while Gilead had offered a rate nearly four times higher.
The government contested in court that it had no option but to issue the compulsory license to expedite COVID-19 treatment and that at the time Gilead had not sent an application to reduce the cost of the drug in line with laws on the maximum selling prices for vital and essential medicines.