Monday, 16 June 2014

Why don't generic drug manufacturers rely on IP?

cute coffee hamster
Forget its impact on me,
I need some of that too!
Source: here
Seriously, this Leo doesn't like generic drug manufacturers because they hate IP. This is despite the fact that he relies on generic antihistamine tablets to control food allergy symptoms, when he feels like indulging

It's easy for the public, this Leo included, to reach the conclusion that generic drug manufacturers dislike IP, particularly patents, and that they're the only ones who can save the world's poor, in terms of illnesses, from the shackles of patents. This often arises in the PR wars between opposing interests when we read news report on issues such as access to medicine (especially from a developing country perspective); how India is fighting Big Pharma, or for strong IPRs proponents, how the generic industry (e.g. here and here) is apparently hindering the development of landmark life-saving medicines. ["The last two words, together, sounded like an 'access to medicine' slogan", says Afro Leo]

Well, the 'IP community' (i.e. those who protect/enforce IPRs for generics) and those in the generics business know the truth. Thanks to the self-explanatory title of this article by Managing IP (MIP), this Leo - without access to the entire content - swiftly learns that leading generic drugs manufacturers like Cipla need to protect their invention in India and across the world. [Afro Leo says that African countries should note that nothing lasts forever! India, China, and others alike may be doing all sorts to supply those affordable products now; but soon, they might start demanding respect for the IP in their value-added goods] By the way, is this not the same Cipla that is also known for challenging Big Pharma's patents in India?

As nosy as he is, this Leo went further to validate the point made by Cipla in that article by MIP. First, he discovered that Cipla's 2012/13 Annual Report mentions the need to protect things such as drug delivery systems, formulations and other products or medical devices, at home and abroad. Secondly, a quick search of the UK IPO and USPTO trade mark databases reveals a number of trade marks owned by Cipla - which isn't at all surprising. Finally, he understands that Cipla wants to join the Patents Pool game in the near future. 

Are we witnessing something spectacular in that generic folks and Big Pharma are gradually finding common grounds? [Oh dear, Afro Leo tells this Leo that Big Pharma is already in for a piece of the generic pie here and here] If you're still in doubt, how about clamping down on counterfeit medicines? Yes, both parties appear to be on board

So there you have it! Generic drug manufacturers also need IP protection, in one form or another, to thrive.
India giving Big Pharma a BIG headache here
Big Pharma may soon start giving India a BIG headache here
India diverting the current patent law regime to another destination here
What's up with Big Pharma? Check out herehere and here

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