KAMPALA — President Yoweri Museveni has intervened in the wrangle between Mbarara University and Prof Patrick Ogwang over the ownership of Covidex herbal medicine, warning the former to desist from sabotaging the progress made over patents.
Addressing the country on Friday July 30, the President said he had been briefed about arguments around ownership of the patents and trademarks, ruling that “these belong to the scientists who discovered them”.
“If the institutions that employ these scientists want to benefit from their innovations, they should levy a sort of tax, what the technology transfer experts refer to as sharing of royalties,” he said.
“Even then, much of the proceeds should go to the inventor so that we encourage our scientists to discover more,” he said, adding that: “We must protect the intellectual property rights of the scientists involved”.
The President had previously asked lawyers suing Prof Ogwang over Covidex ownership to stop.
President Museveni’s intervention comes after Mbarara University claimed intellectual Property Rights for Covidex, a supportive Covid-9 treatment, manufactured by Prof Ogwang’s Jena Herbals Limited.
Earlier, the Mbarara University vice chancellor, Prof Celestino Obua said the institution owned the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) for Covidex and that it was developed with public resources.
Prof Ogwang revealed that Jena Herbals Limited has capacity to manufacture 30,000 bottles of Covidex per day and that they sell each bottle at Shs7,000.
There is high demand for the product after the National Drug Authority (NDA) last month approved it as a supportive treatment for Covid-19.