Updated: Dec 16, 2020
The health sector is considered to be the most important sector of the nation, as the growth and the economy of the state are dependent on the human resource, but due to the uneven distribution of wealth within the set of groups, it is often observed that the existence of disparity amongst rich and poor and the rapid emerging gap between the two has led to declining health standards for the poor.
In consideration of that, the Pharmacy Sector has always ensured to manufacture affordable medicines for the poor using the same drug as big manufacturing companies. The question that arises is whether the Intellectual Property Rights should be enforced to the sector or they should be allowed to produce low-cost medicines without any obligations.
The Pharmacy Sector, as we are all aware spends years of hard work in creating the best drug to keep us in high spirits and good health. Therefore, if they are allowed to establish the patent for the same, it’ll not just validate their hard work but will also encourage them to create more drugs. Patenting the drug will also enable good pricing and the rapid growth of the sector.
Patenting of Pharmaceutical
The above-mentioned recommendation is forbidden by the Third World Countries, due to their inconsistent economic growth and developing stage. Usually in these countries, the patent is only allowed for the process of creating the drug and not the drug itself; this enables the manufacturers to adopt different and reasonable methods to produce the same drug ata cheaper price. It not just provides the poor with a fair price, but also gives freedom to the manufacturers to choose their process of production according to their budget.
In contrast to the recent globalization in the 1990s, almost every country is now exposed to global trends and western influence. Because of this, many agreements under WTO such as GATT have been proposed to the Third World Countries, to open up their Pharmacy Sector and provide patents to the drug and not just the process by which they are made. This would help them sell their drug globally and would increase their export tariffs.
Examining both the debates, it'll not be wrong to say that both of them have a fair point and valid explanation. On one side, for a developing country which has the majority of poor people, it is important that the health of the people is taken into consideration and a fair amount of medicines is provided to the needy in the growing number of health issues. Whereas on the other side, the potential of the Pharmacy Sector should be acknowledged as they invest their valuable time on drug trials and R&D for years.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government to balance the two of them and create a room for both to breathe.
The possible solutions to the problem are:
Cross subsidizing the drugs which are considered to be life-threatening.
Protection of patents for five or ten years instead of a lifetime.
Pro bono selling of drugs to Third World Countries by big manufacturers.
Offsetting the losses by the Western countries to compensate the poor.
Most of these strategies are followed in India for dealing with their Pharmacy Sector to provide life-saving drugs to the needy and poor.
It can therefore be concluded, that the government along with the Western Pharmacy Sector should promote such strategies, and the respective leaders should take the health of the people more seriously and not just be a demagogue.
About the Author
Surpreet kaur, a young legal enthusiast and a musician, who has deep interest in Intellectual Property Rights and other important legal spheres, has authored this article. She is a first year legal intern at Prodigy Legal and is currently assisting on different topics with our professionals.