Intellectual property rights (IPR) have been characterized
as ideas, inventions and imaginative articulations based on which there is
public willingness to bestow the status of property. IPR provide certain
exclusive rights to the innovators or creators of that property, so as to
empower them to receive business rewards from their creative endeavors. There
are several types of intellectual property assurance like patent, copyright,
trademark, and so on.
Patent is an acknowledgment for an invention, which fulfills the criteria of
worldwide novelty, non-conspicuousness, and industrial application. IPR is
essential for identification, planning, commercialization, rendering, and in
this manner assurance of invention or creativity. Every industry ought to
advance its own IPR arrangements, the board style, techniques, etc relying upon
its region of specialty. Pharmaceutical industry as of now has a developing IPR
methodology requiring a superior concentration and approach in the coming era.
The trend of granting patents began in the fourteenth century. In contrast to
other European nations, in certain issues England was technologically advanced
and used to draw in craftsmans from somewhere else, on exceptional terms.
The first known copyrights showed up in Italy. Venice can be viewed as the
cradle of IP framework as most legitimate thinking in this area was done here;
laws and frameworks were made here without precedent for the world, and
different nations followed in due time. Patent act in India is over 150 years of
age. The first one is the 1856 Act, which depends on the British patent
framework and it has provided the patent term of 14 years followed by various
acts and amendments.
More than any other technological area, drugs and pharmaceuticals coordinate the
portrayal of globalization and need to have a solid IP framework most intently.
Realizing that the expense of bringing a new drug into the market may cost an
organization anyplace between $300 million to $1000 million alongside all the
associated risks at the formative stage, no organization will like to risk it's
IP turning into a public property without sufficient returns.
Creating, acquiring, ensuring, and managing IP must turn into a corporate action
in a similar way as the raising of resources and funds. The information
upheaval, which we make certain to observe, will request a special platform for
IP and treatment in the overall decision-making procedure.
The present condition of the pharmaceutical industry shows that IPR are by and
large ridiculously fortified and mishandled to the detriment of rivalry and
consumer welfare. The absence of hazard and advancement with respect to the drug
industry underscores the disparity that is happening to the detriment of public
good. It is an injustice that cannot be restored by legislative reform alone.
The award of patents on minor components of an old medication, reformulations of
old medications to make secure new patents, and the utilization of advertisement
and brand name development to build the hindrances for generic market entrants
are altogether territories in which antitrust law can help stabilize the balance
between remunerating innovation and preserving competition.
Thus, this is how patenting of drugs and medicines are done. Writing patent
specification is an exceptionally proficient expertise, which is procured over
some stretch of time and needs a decent combination of scientific, technological
and legal knowledge. Claims in any patent specification comprise the soul of the
patent over which legal propriety is sought. Discovery of a new property in a
known material is not patentable.
If one can put the property to a practical use one has made an invention which
may be patentable. A substance which may not be new but however has been found
to have a new property, it might be possible to patent it in blend with some
other known substances if in mix they show some new outcome.
The explanation is that nobody has prior utilized that combination for creating
an insecticide or fertilizer drug. It is quite possible that an inventor has
made another particle yet its exact structure is not known. In such a case,
portrayal of the substance alongside its properties and the technique of
producing the same will play a significant role.
Now, taking the present scenario of the deadly virus outbreak which is known as
the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) is spreading globally at a very fast rate and
in large numbers. The pharmaceutical industry will gain a lot of profit but
keeping in mind that they have to invest a lot for production of new vaccines
and medicines which will eventually eradicate this deadly virus. This is not the
first time that the world is going through an epidemic, there have been previous
cases such as Plague, Spanish Flu, HIV, Cholera and many more.
Cholera, bubonic plague, smallpox, and flu or influenza and HIV are some of the
absolute and most brutal killers in mankind's history and outbreak of these
diseases across international borders are appropriately defined as pandemic,
especially smallpox, which throughout history, has killed between 300-500
million people in its 12,000 year existence.
Therefore, the world controlled these outbreaks at that time with drugs and
medicines; with no proper knowledge as these viruses were way ahead of it's time
and the human species was not prepared for it. Thus we are facing epidemics
since time immemorial but patents were created prior 150 years and it plays an
important role in the pharmaceutical industry.
The pharmaceutical industry has to keep in mind that they are producing
medicines for all the people in the society thus they have to determine the
prices which are easily affordable by the poor people.
For instance, the HIV pandemic which as per the sources spread from Republic of
Congo and resulted in urgency to make treatment accessible for many individuals
brought to the fore the issue of affordability of antiretroviral treatment.
At the point when patent-ensured antiretroviral treatments were first
introduced, the cost was over US $10,000 for each patient per year, putting them
out of reach of the vast majority of HIV patients in developing nations, where
more than three billion individuals live on short of what US $2 per day. Despite
the fact that efforts had been made to decrease costs by pharmaceutical
organizations, including proposed donation and programs on heavy discounts, the
scale of the crisis in developing nations distinctly demanded an increasingly
systematic and sustainable methodology.
WHO's focus is on awareness building for policymakers and independent
evaluations of the health impact of international trade agreements for
countries, leading to effective participation in international and regional
negotiations. In this way, the needs and interests of the developing countries
will be adequately taken into account. However, inventions have played a
significant role in the treatment and prevention of diseases, including those
diseases of pandemic proportions. Pandemics have come and gone as stealthily as
they came but frequently returning in the equivalent or altered form.
Prevention was generally cultivated by avoidance and luck; treatment was
inaccessible or for the most part ineffective. It was not until recently that
medical science provided significant intercessions to treat and prevent
pandemics. It was not until the awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic spread; that
the public considered patented inventions that might provide a solution for this
dreaded infection and other infections as well.
Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an
international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on
intellectual property rights. The Agreement covers most forms of intellectual
property including patents, copyright, trademarks, industrial designs, trade
secrets etc. The negotiators of the TRIPS Agreement were obviously aware of the
issue created by the requiring nations to grant patents on pharmaceuticals and
the requirement for these equivalent countries to have access to patented
life-saving medications, especially during times of crisis.
Under TRIPS, the exclusive rights that must be granted under patents are not
absolute; nonetheless, the exemptions as presently in force are not extensive.
Individuals may, in formulating or amending their laws and regulations, embrace
measures that are important to secure general well-being and nourishment and to
promote the public enthusiasm in sectors of fundamental significance to their
socioeconomic and technological improvement, provided that such measures are
reliable to the arrangements of this Agreement. Henceforth, the patenting of
drugs and medicines are done with the help of the TRIPS Agreement.
With the present situation of the Coronavirus outbreak, people all over the
world have become more aware of how to control the problems during a pandemic.
The best practices of social distancing and washing hands on a regular basis are
being followed. Almost all the nations which are suffering from this virus have
implied mandatory stay at-home measures, closing down all the colleges, schools,
offices, public places which means that the whole world is facing a lockdown.
The push for the human race to survive the pandemic has become the primary
concern in the world.
India has managed this epidemic in a pleasant and emphatic manner. The way our
Prime Minister has imposed the rules and regulations of the lockdown and the
course of action that he has taken up to control the population of nearly 1.3
billion is exceptional.
Our country is one of the highest drug exporters in the world after China.
Dozens of companies and many more independent researchers have begun working on
tests, treatments, and vaccines.
One of the drug known as hydroxycloroquine which was used to treat patients
suffering from malaria is working on the Covid-19 affected victims but the
research is still vague and in progress. On 25th of March 2020, the government
banned export of anti-malarial drug hydroxycloroquine with immediate effect to
ensure sufficient availability of the medicine in the domestic market.
Pharmaceuticals are a major component of India's trade expansion strategy,
particularly with the country's stated objective of a wider diversification of
the export profile in terms of both products as well as destinations.
India's need to create it's own mass medications can flawlessly line up with its
ambition to turn into a mass drug exporter to business sectors like Africa.
India should consider about embracing economies of scale and expanding the
production of drugs to compete with the Chinese in the African market.
During the time of the HIV Pandemic, India had provided quality antiretroviral
drugs simply known as ARV's which were used to treat patients suffering from HIV
at low prices to people with HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Countries across
sub-Saharan Africa with high HIV/AIDS burden are heavily reliant on the
availability of Indian-produced generic ARVs to support their national treatment
Rather than agreeing to inappropriate intellectual property obligations, India
and its trade partners alongwith international organizations, donors, national
governments, civil society and pharmaceutical manufacturers should ensure that
there is sufficient policy space for the Indian generic industry to continue its
central role in supplying developing countries with low-cost, high
quality-assured generic drugs and medicines.
Pandemics like HIV, Influenza, Covid-19, etc. are not limited only to the
developed countries which have enough resources to treat their own, where it
might be expected that the pandemic affected victims will be able to access the
patented drugs through personal income, insurance or governmental aid. Now, with
respect to the developing countries or the least developed or underdeveloped
countries, to the ability of the administration, not to mention the patients, to
pay the developed world price for patented pharmaceuticals is basically
The relationship between pandemics and patents in this way becomes more clearer,
as does the potential conflict arising from eliminating the former yet
respecting the latter. The relationship is one of the tension arising between
the incentive to make inventions that might be capable of preventing or treating
a pandemic disease and simultaneously granting a patent that may deny that
access without the patent proprietor's consent.
Like necessity, the accessibility of patents indeed initiates inventions and
should turn into a valuable weapon in the battle against pandemics. On the other
hand, if access to required inventions is denied or restricted by patents, the
ethical dilemma emerges in the distinctive form of protecting property at the
expense of life and human prosperity.
Therefore, I would like to conclude the topic by stating that patenting of drugs
and medicines in a time of pandemic has an important role as with the help of
the patent owner the cost of the drugs and medicines are determined. Prices need
to be fixed at a rate which are affordable by the poor.
During a pandemic a lot of lives are lost just because there is no proper
healthcare system involved and even if there is a proper set up, the vaccines
and medicines are not ready as something new emerges against which the human
body is not immuned to. Henceforth, inventions need to take place with proper
patenting and there needs to be appropriate research and development procedures
so as to cope up with the deadly virus which spreads rapidly during the phase of
The main motive of the pharmaceutical industry must not be to earn profits but
to produce ample amount of drugs, medicines and vaccines so as to control the
situation during a state of an epidemic.