Intellectual PropertyPatents

Why Is the Drug Industry Out of Control Because of Patent Protection?

If you’re wondering why patent protection is all the rave in the pharmaceutical industry, you’ve found just the right article. Here’s an in-depth look at why the pharmaceutical industry requires patent protection.

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The pharmaceutical patent system was designed to help pharmaceutical companies protect their best interests. However, the system has evolved over time into a means for helping them maintain a monopoly and maximise their profits. Most pharmaceutical companies find a way to circumvent intellectual property rules, causing problems for the general public. Furthermore, with menace companies selling expensive drug patents which further increase the cost of life-saving drugs, Pharma Patent Manipulation must be stopped. Patent protection is all the rave in the pharmaceutical industry.

The Indian pharmaceutical sector has high expectations from the upcoming Union Budget to be tabled on 1 February 2021. They expect the government to lower the GST rate for all life-saving drugs to zero and move other drugs to a 5% slab to increase affordability. Additionally, the requirement of reversing GST on physician samples should be discarded.

What Are the Different Types of Patents?

  1. Utility patents: This type of patent protection covers useful processes, manufacturable articles, machines and new compositions.
  2. Design patent: This type of patent protection extends to the original design of a product.
  3. Plant patents: These patents are suitable for an invention or discovery of a new type of complex plant which is capable of being reproduced.

Examples of Patents

Sl No Inventor Year of Filing Patent Invention
1 King C. Gillette 1904 Safety Razor
2 Philo Taylor Farnsworth 1930 Television System
3 Nils Alwall 1946 Dialysis machine
4 Steve Jobs for Apple Inc 1980 Personal Computer
5 Qualcomm. Inc 2015 Wireless Charging

Why Does the Pharmaceutical Industry Require Patent Protection?

To protect its investments, the pharmaceutical industry relies heavily on patent protection. In fact, pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars on drug research, development, analysis, and testing. This is why they patent their product as soon as the costly process has resulted in the discovery of a useful drug.

Furthermore, most patents are valid for 20 years, allowing the company to recoup the money spent on R&D. Hence in this way the patent protection system provides a commercial incentive for researchers and pharmaceutical companies to conduct R&D. However, the system has lost balance due to certain agencies and organizations, creating problems for the public out of greed for money. 

Why Is Patent Protection in the Drug Industry Out of Control?

The primary reason why is because pharmaceutical companies rarely invest in research and development in proportion to their profits. Furthermore, most companies believe it is safer to buy a drug’s rights and then gradually raise the price over time through their own research. Additionally, as a result of the patent protection procedure itself, pharmaceutical companies profit at the expense of the general public. This creates a monopoly in the pharmaceutical industry, allowing for exorbitant prescription prices. This is why countries must learn how to strike a balance between encouraging research and making drug therapy affordable and available.

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Patent Protection Qualifications and Eligibility Criteria

Here is a look at the patent protection qualifications required to file for a patent in India:

Any invention, whether a product or process that does not fall into the category of non-patentable items, enjoys patent protection in India. The eligibility criteria for applying for patent protection is as follows;

  • The invention or design is novel
  • Moreover, the device contains an inventive step or process that is non-obvious.
  • The invention is capable of industrial manufacture and application
  • Additionally, the invention does not fall under Section 3 or 4 of the Patents Act.

How Do I Protect My Idea Without a Patent?

Obtaining patent protection is costly, moreover, your ideas may not always meet the requirements for patent protection. As a result, in such cases, you must devise alternative methods of protecting your idea. While they may not be legally valid or foolproof, here are some low-cost strategies for protecting your business inventions.

  1. Make sure you do your research before associating with anyone outside your business. Run background checks to ensure they have a good track record 
  2. Additionally, draft a Non-disclosure agreement to commit your associates to confidentiality
  3. Incorporate a Non-compete agreement or clause while hiring employees to prevent idea theft
  4. Further, try to file for a provisional patent to get interim protection for your invention, product, or design 
  5. Thereafter, consider applying for a trademark if the concept you are trying to protect is creative or related to branding.
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