Pharma companies report good health

New Delhi, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2005, 06:11am hrs
The countrys most significant achievement in the field of pharmaceuticals in 2004-05 was implementation of the product patent regime in conformity with Trips (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) agreement with the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The Survey takes care to point out that apprehensions from a few quarters of rise in drug prices due to this amendment to Indian Patent Act, 1970, are ill founded. This is so because 97% of all drugs manufactured in the country are off-patents. These cover most of the life-saving drugs and medicines for common ailments as well.

In patented drugs also, in most cases there are alternatives available. Besides, there are adequate safeguards to protect the interests of domestic industry and common man.

In Pink Of Health
$7 billion pharma industry is by and large free of malaise
The important milestone in 2004 was implementation of product patent regime
Global majors eyeing allainces
Highlighting the salient features of the patent regime in the country, the Survey says that from 1947 to 1972 due to stringent conditions of the Indian Patent Act of 1911, most of the effective drugs patented by foreign companies were not produced in India. Drug prices in the country were hence the highest in the world.

The Patent Act which came in 1970 did not allow product patents and only process patents were granted. This enabled indigenous drug companies to manufacture patented products of different countries using different processes. But subsequent emphasis on intellectual property rights under WTO forced India in 1995 to agree to adopt product patent regime by 2005. It stuck to the January 1 deadline by issuing the Patent (Amendments) Ordinance on December 26, 2004.