Pharmaceutical Patents and their Impact on Indian Pharmaceutical Industry
Amity Law School, Amity University, India
Volume II, Issue I, 2018
Drug discovery and access to generic drugs at affordable prices are so tightly inter woven that neither could exist without the other. Health has always been a concern in India since the time of Independence and even after the advent of the Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights it continues to act as a hindrance in the development of the economy.
The pharmaceutical sector in India plays an important role in the society and can have an adverse effect on the economy as well. This legal writing is accordingly geared towards gaining and understanding as to what exactly patents and its evolution are internationally and how the product patents gradually emerged in India, the focus will be on the patents in the pharmaceutical sector and its relevance in the society and the economy. India is a developing country and therefore, it has to balance the needs of its citizens of granting easy access to patented drugs especially the ones which are sold at exorbitant prices. The two major problems in the Indian Pharmaceutical sector which need to be critically analysed:
Firstly, there exists a tussle between concept of granting patents especially in the pharmaceutical sector and the right to health. Right to health, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is considered to be one of the most essential and basic Fundamental Right and in the present scenario we hardly get to witness the justice being done to it, since monopoly is conferred on the lifesaving drugs as a result they became inaccessible to the common people due to the exorbitant prices at which they are sold and this fact always proves to be a major setback in accessing these drugs.
Secondly, the amount of money involved in Research & Development for inventing a drug is so high that there exists a dilemma of choosing between the protection of rights and interests of the public at large and the protection of rights and interest of the private sector and how the existing patent regime proves to be more fruitful in resolving the present dilemma in order to keep the public interest and the private interest at the same pedestal.
The question that remains is whether India should bring about a change in its Patent Policy for Pharma practices in the global market or it should continue with the same perspective that is favourable to a greater number of people who can have access to life saving drugs, at much reasonable and affordable price, which in my opinion is a much larger issue.