World AIDS Day: Beyond condoms, generic medicine sector must be protected by India

As the drugstore of the world, India has emerged over the last one decade. It’s a great thing, but regrettably, one facing constant dangers.

As the drugstore of the world, India has emerged over the last one decade. It’s a great thing, but regrettably, one facing constant dangers.

ITPC works towards empowering individuals in need to gain access to HIV treatment that is best.

India has ever been at loggerheads over foreign authorities over patent issues and is quite assertive about its rights, as Firstpost writer Shree Krupa Mitra - before this month Jha described.

What’s the connection between IPR and drugs

“A patent as such isn't a poor thing. And, why should a company who spend billions of dollars in research be made to sell a medication at a loss? Recently drug companies have already been making small changes in their medications and re-applying for new patents consequently prolonging their control. Additionally, they charge for the drugs. This is wrong and has to be discontinued. Particularly those who can save numerous lives, particular essential medicines, needs to be manufactured accessible at as low a cost as you possibly can,” adds Gate.

So, way the Indian government has been very strict with its stand of not letting these external forces impact the Indian generic drug industry, but India’s IPR rules will probably transform to attract more MNCs with the Narendra Modi government pushing India as the next manufacturing hub. Our stand is transforming. And how long will India have the ability to retain its stand stays not clear.

A crucial example is how Gilead managed to get the patent to manufacture its anti-Hepatitis C drugs sofosbuvir (Sovaldi©). The firm applied to get a patent to produce sofosbuvir, but it was rejected due to the steep prices of the pill. It costs $1,000 a pill in the US.

But in 2016, India’s patent office, reportedly under pressure, approved the patent to make Sovaldi before US President Barack Obama was to go to with the country. Vidya Krishnan and Mandakini Gahlot has a fascinating report on the way in which the patent was acquired in an article on The Caravan.

With Gilead’s patent for Sovaldi, it is going to become extremely expensive, not simply in India but across the planet. $1,000 a bill in the is already charging the US, which brings the cost for an 84-day class to $84,000. It’s quite pricey.”

And undoubtedly, the company had signed a deal with seven generic drug companies licensing them to sell generic versions of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir in 91 low-income and least developed countries while preventing them from exporting the medication to nations like China (30 million people with HCV), Brazil (2.6 million), the Philippines (1.9 million), Turkey (1.5 million), Thailand (1.4 million) and Mexico (1.1 million) and developed countries.

India’s HIV change bill has a loophole that is critical

Patents, nevertheless, the organisation fighting for their rights, and also not the sole problem that is worrying folks with HIV/AIDS. The government of India earlier this month introduced some changes that were crucial through the HIV Amendment Bill 2016, offering individuals with HIV/AIDS more privacy. Nevertheless, it left out a critical matter: a bonded treatment.

Though the bill states that the Central government and also the state governments will work towards creating an infrastructure offering diagnostics services while towards prevention of HIV/AIDS and provide treatment, the bill doesn’t make it compulsory on the authorities. And that says Gang, is worrying, particularly when People with HIV/AIDS are greatly dependent on ARV drugs.

Presently, there are more than 30 distinct kinds of ARV — a first line, second line, and so on — and, the treatment constantly changes as the virus keeps developing resistance to the medications. There are more than ONE million people receiving free medicine through ARTWORK centres in India, and among those with HIV/AIDS, there’s a continuous anxiety without any guarantee to receive treatment.

You keep the right to remove treatment “If you say that medicine will be provided by us as far as possible. This bill offers a legal loophole for politicians and the authorities to wash off their hands at any time. It is designed to safeguard the individuals, but instead, it’s protecting the authorities and also the politicians. The authorities must accept and verify that we won't reside half-way. Individuals with HIV/AIDS don’t want the treatment for just per month or a year, but through the course of their life. You should continue, or you don't begin at all when you begin,” says Gangte.

India’s weak intellectual property rights rules are termed as truly one of the reasons why foreign companies are unwilling to come to India. But should commerce take precedence over lives? Specially, when they can be already battling with an incurable virus is a question worth pondering.