By Rachael Najjuma
17th March 2023
The High Court in Kampala has confirmed Associate Professor Peter Ogwang as the true owner of the COVIDEX support drug used on the Covid-19 virus.
High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana ruled Friday that the ownership of the COVIDEX drug isn’t contested since Mbarara University of Technology conceded to having no formula for the innovation.
In 2021, Musa Muhammad Kigongo and Advocate for People, a pressure group sued the National Drugs Authority-NDA and Prof. Ogwang challenging the ownership and the legality of the declaration of COVIDEX, a support drug.
At that time COVID-19 had ravaged the world, Uganda was not spared and the race for the production of vaccines and drugs was very alive.
The applicants argued that it was irrational, legally improper, unjustified and reached without due regard to the law and rules of natural justice for NDA to declare COVIDEX as a support drug and allow Prof. Ogwang to produce and distribute the same.
They said the NDA didn’t conduct trials of its own on the drugs before allowing them to be produced for consumption by the general public.
The two who filed the case in public interest further argued that Prof. Ogwang lacked the rights to the drug since the research leading to its production was conducted at Mbarara University of Technology where the professor is employed.
They said that Mbarara University of Science and Technology received from the World Bank a grant of 283,312,000 million shillings to research COVIDEX medicine.
The judge ruled that the applicants had failed to demonstrate their interest in the matter.
The pressure group has its registered objective aligned with human rights and rule of law yet they could not link the application to their objective.
As for the second applicant, Kigongo, the court found that he was a journalist and former Secretary for works and counselor at Bukomasimbi District, descriptions which couldn’t show sufficient interest in the making of the Covidex drug.