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THE PHARMA REVIEW (MARCH - APRIL 2013)

Patents and Access to Affordable Medicines – Striking a Balance

Manthan D Janodia, D.Sreedhar, Virendra Ligade, Pradeep Muragundi & N.Udupa

Introduction: The issue of Compulsory License (CL) for Bayer’s “Nexavar” (Sorafenib Tosylate) by Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademark1 in India has created a stir among policy makers. The issue of compulsory license is seen by multinational pharmaceutical companies as curtailing their right to recover money invested in research and development (R&D) whereas policy makers, government and patient groups see it as a right to access to affordable medicines. The goals of society and goals of business entities are always different and hence it is important to strike a balance in order to ensure that society keeps deriving benefits of R&D efforts by business entities including pharmaceutical companies. The issue of pharmaceutical patents is at the forefront here and it is important to find a solution that would have long term positive ramifications in access to affordable medicines in India. The importance of patent system would continue to dominate in all fields of technology including pharmaceuticals. Developing countries like India should ensure that the interest of their citizens with respect to accessibility and affordability of medicines is not compromised. Member countries of WTO will have to balance their patent system in such a way that they meet their international obligations and at the same time ensure that the indigenous development capabilities are established. Many issues are intertwined with providing patent protection in developing and under- developed countries. These countries are faced with growing concerns of public health and access to affordable medicines. Flexibility is provided under TRIPS agreement which should be implemented effectively. Developed countries should support the growth of technological capabilities in developing and least developed countries.

 

 

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