Priti Krishtel

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Priti Krishtel
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  • Academic
  • Justice-advocate
  • Lawyer

Priti Krishtel is an Indian academic, justice-advocate,[1][2][3][4] and a lawyer,[5][6] who co-founded the Nonprofit organization Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge I-MAK[7][8]



In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic Krishtel has published papers advocating for reform of Intellectual property|intellectual property rights of pharmaceutical companies with regards to COVID-19 vaccines, and sharing of technologies.[9][10]


Krishtel has made two successful legal challenges, including one against Abbott Laboratories attempts to patent a process associated with its HIV medication Aluvia.[5]

She argued in 2018 that public enthusiasm for intellectual property rights reform is at an all time high[11], and stated in 2020 that there is not a correlation between protecting patents of pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical innovation.[12]

As the Executive director of the Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge, Krishtel has campaigned in India and USA for increased affordability of pharmaceuticals through reform of Intellectual property.[5] In 2021 she accused US pharmaceutical companies of abusing intellectual property law to enhance their monopolistic positions.[5]

Krishtel stated that many medicinal patent applications, rather than being for new medicinal formulas, are trivial tweaks to drug administration regimes or process.[5] In 2021 she stated that intellectual property law reform alone would not be enough to improve access to COVID-19 vaccine|COVID-19 vaccines and that "tech transfer" was also needed, meaning that the technical and human resources to make vaccines should be shared by western pharmaceutical companies with people in Developing country|low income countries.[13] Responding to criticism of the "tech transfer" argument in which it was said that local manufacturing of vaccines increased safety risks, she told CBS News that such defences of the status quo were racist assumptions, grounded in the false perspective that low income countries lacked manufacturing capacity and a safety regulatory framework.[14]

In 2021 she stated that the free market ideology isn't working - neither for people in developing countries, nor for people in USA.[15] She called Donald Trump's prioritisation of vaccines for American citizens the "the beginning of a new Hunger Games".[16]

In August 2021 she pointed out that 55% of people in developed countries have been vaccinated, while for people in developing countries the number is 1%.[17]


  1. Krishtel, Priti (2021-02-09). "Opinion | The Path to Racial Justice Runs Through This Agency". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  2. "Could a patent waiver change the pandemic's course?". Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  3. "The COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Waiver Fight Is Far From Over". HuffPost. 2021-05-12. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  4. Siddiqui, Stephanie Armour and Sabrina (2021-06-06). "Biden's Covid-19 Response Chief Zients Faces Next Task: Vaccinating the World". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Sinha, Gunjan. "Why Americans pay through the nose for brand-name drugs". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  6. Maxmen, Amy (2021-08-13). "Has COVID taught us anything about pandemic preparedness?". Nature. 596 (7872): 332–335. doi:10.1038/d41586-021-02217-y.
  7. "Bucking The System : TED Radio Hour". Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  8. "Vaccine, Drug Patents on Deck for PTO Director Nominee Vidal". Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  9. Krishtel, Priti; Malpani, Rohit (2021-05-28). "Suspend intellectual property rights for covid-19 vaccines". BMJ. 373: n1344. doi:10.1136/bmj.n1344. ISSN 1756-1833.
  10. Krishtel, Priti; Hassan, Fatima (2021-10-22). "Share vaccine know-how". Science. 374 (6566): 379–379. doi:10.1126/science.abm8724.
  11. "Pharma patent owners in the US are under pressure like they have never been before | IAM". Retrieved 2021-11-17.
  12. Weaver, Jasmin. "Ten years ago, I testified before Congress about drug pricing — and it's only gotten worse. Here's what's wrong, and how we may be able to fix it". Business Insider. Retrieved 2021-11-16.
  13. Kaplan, Thomas; Stolberg, Sheryl Gay; Robbins, Rebecca (2021-05-05). "Taking 'Extraordinary Measures,' Biden Backs Suspending Patents on Vaccines". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  14. "Calls for drug companies to share vaccine formulas grow as global COVID crisis worsens". Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  15. Nast, Condé (2021-05-06). "What to Know About Vaccine Nationalism". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  16. Wise, Jacqui (2020-07-03). "Remdesivir: US purchase of world stocks sparks new "hunger games," warn observers". BMJ. 370: m2661. doi:10.1136/bmj.m2661. ISSN 1756-1833.
  17. "What is the COVID-19 situation in Southeast Asia?". 2021-08-11. Retrieved 2021-11-15.

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