Zuba Parvez Bubere

Medical Monopoly

The Indian market is gigantic with respect to the trade-in commodities, and today, there exists possibly no nation on the planet that does not consider establishing itself in India to take advantage of the colossal reach. The pharmaceutical industry is no exception to it.

Over the years, the Indian pharmaceutical industry has encountered stupendous growth. However, no area can ever claim saturation since there is always room for improvement through innovation.

Such refinement can be accomplished by adopting measures such as generating better awareness regarding medical insurance policies, breakthrough technologies and formulating affordable live-saving remedies.

The relationship between a consumer and a pharmaceutical product is profoundly based on a blind-faith that the product is fit and safe for consumption. Establishing better standards in the manufacturing of medicines compels consistent and thorough research in the area which demands enormous investments.

Consequently, when a pharma enterprise develops a new drug, it is entitled to protection against infringers. This leads to resorting to Intellectual Property Rights, which are granted to the respective company, and the law makes it mandatory for all to respect such rights. Patents grant an inventor the right to exclude others from making, selling or using their inventions.

In contrast, trademarks differentiate the product from all other products of its kind, thereby granting exclusivity to a specific company and recognition of the company’s ownership of the brand. Such entitlements not only give shelter to the pharma undertaking but essentially, keeps a check on the abuse of medicines, certifying the safety of the masses.

The Indian Medical Council recognizes various systems of medicine- Ayurveda, homoeopathy, acupuncture, acupressure, allopathy, aromatherapy, to name a few. Such methods of medical treatments are not only approved in India. Still, they are also adopted by numerous other societies in the world.

The success of these regimens is conditional upon the medicines and drugs availed of. Nevertheless, given the present scenario of the economy wherein law enforcement is weak enough to handcuff the wrong-doers, duplicate medicaments are being manufactured, sold and administered to the patients which can cause severe damage to health and life.

Due to such a state of affairs, the pharma industry, in essence, is demotivated to work their best, thus resulting in a setback to enjoy the competitive advantage in the global market.

Strengthening of laws has become the need of the hour. This will help the industry enhance their scope of development, thereby formulating better medicines and drugs at an affordable price which will help to ameliorate the health conditions of Indian citizens. There is a need to develop superior quality drugs to out master cancers, high level of diabetes, HIV and AIDS. Such formulas are attainable only and when the government intervenes. Authorities can play a very essential and fruitful role in the field by extending the required finances to potentially-abled pharmaceutical undertakings.

The state must also inspect time and again that the patent and trademark holders do comply with the principles and guidelines of the Intellectual Property Rights Law and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), to which India is a signatory.

A report of the same must be drafted by the concerned authority and placed before the health ministry of each state and the centre in particular. A detailed and timely scrutiny will also ensure that the owners of such rights do not revise the prices of their medicines to such an extent that it becomes out of reach for those who are financially less sound.

It must also work on the provision of medicines to those societies that do not possess the required infrastructure to manufacture medicines themselves. An empowered state action is what will draft the road map for the bright future of the pharmaceutical industry, accord value to its products and the objective of enacting the Intellectual Property Laws.