Pharmaceutical Patenting in India- Assessing Challenges to Public Access to Essential Medicine


Authors : CHAYAN SHREE UPADHYAY

Volume/Issue : Volume 8 - 2023, Issue 7 - July

Google Scholar : https://bit.ly/3TmGbDi

Scribd : https://tinyurl.com/43anz5f8

DOI : https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8217389

Abstract : Pharmaceutical patenting plays a critical role in promoting innovation and ensuring the availability of effective and affordable medicines. However, in developing countries like India, the issue of public access to healthcare becomes a significant concern when considering the implications of pharmaceutical patenting. This abstract highlights the challenges faced by Indiain balancing the protection of intellectual property rights and the need to provide accessible healthcare to its population. India, being one of the largest producers of generic medicines, has a long history of implementing a robust intellectual property regime that balances patent protection with public health interests. However, the introduction of product patents in India in 2005, in compliance with the World Trade Organization's Trade- Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, posed new challenges. The pharmaceutical patenting landscape in India has seen an increase in the number of patents filed by multinational pharmaceutical companies for innovative drugs. While patent protection encourages research and development, it also creates barriers to access for essential medicines, especially for underprivileged populations. The high cost of patented medicines often places them out of reach for many individuals, exacerbating health inequalities and impeding progresstowards universal healthcare. Furthermore, the pharmaceutical patenting system faces additional complexities, including evergreening strategies, where companies seek to extend patent protection by making minor modifications to existing drugs. This practice can delay the entry of generic versions into the market, hindering competition and affordable access to life-saving medications. The Indian government has taken steps to address these challenges through legal provisions, such as compulsory licensing, which allows the production of generic versions of patented drugs in the interest of public health. Additionally, the government encourages domestic manufacturing and promotes research and development in the pharmaceutical sector to foster innovation and reduce dependency on imported medicines. To enhance public access to healthcare, various stakeholders, including the government, pharmaceutical industry, and civil society, need tocollaborate and devise strategies that strike a balance between intellectual property protection and affordable healthcare.

Pharmaceutical patenting plays a critical role in promoting innovation and ensuring the availability of effective and affordable medicines. However, in developing countries like India, the issue of public access to healthcare becomes a significant concern when considering the implications of pharmaceutical patenting. This abstract highlights the challenges faced by Indiain balancing the protection of intellectual property rights and the need to provide accessible healthcare to its population. India, being one of the largest producers of generic medicines, has a long history of implementing a robust intellectual property regime that balances patent protection with public health interests. However, the introduction of product patents in India in 2005, in compliance with the World Trade Organization's Trade- Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, posed new challenges. The pharmaceutical patenting landscape in India has seen an increase in the number of patents filed by multinational pharmaceutical companies for innovative drugs. While patent protection encourages research and development, it also creates barriers to access for essential medicines, especially for underprivileged populations. The high cost of patented medicines often places them out of reach for many individuals, exacerbating health inequalities and impeding progresstowards universal healthcare. Furthermore, the pharmaceutical patenting system faces additional complexities, including evergreening strategies, where companies seek to extend patent protection by making minor modifications to existing drugs. This practice can delay the entry of generic versions into the market, hindering competition and affordable access to life-saving medications. The Indian government has taken steps to address these challenges through legal provisions, such as compulsory licensing, which allows the production of generic versions of patented drugs in the interest of public health. Additionally, the government encourages domestic manufacturing and promotes research and development in the pharmaceutical sector to foster innovation and reduce dependency on imported medicines. To enhance public access to healthcare, various stakeholders, including the government, pharmaceutical industry, and civil society, need tocollaborate and devise strategies that strike a balance between intellectual property protection and affordable healthcare.

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