Competition good for quality
Written by Business Standard   
Wednesday, 03 September 2003



HS Sikka, senior president, Nicholas Piramal

Given Indian scientists' ability to take on new challenges, the government should welcome a stricter IPR regime


Competition good for quality



Image "It is impossible to conceive of any existing system (the patent system) so faulty in so many ways. It survives because there seems nothing better to do," noted the commission on in­tellectual property rights (lPR), set up by the UK government.


The World Bank too has observed that tbe TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) economic model pro­vides maximum incentive for the developed world and enhances the value a patent.  Developing countries being net importers of technologies remain net losers.


There are now apprehensions about the possible rise in drug prices post January 2005 when India will become TRIPS-compliant.  The fact, however, is that the pharmaceutical industry in the country will be in a better position to make hey under the lPR sun.


By 2005, over 75 per cent of drugs are likely to be off-patent. It will be business as usual for the bulk of Indian drug firms though a stricter IPR regime may Iead to the closure of some shanty units.

The competition from MNCs will not only bring about higher domestic standards of drugs, it will also mean lower prices for the end user.  With the generic pharmaceutical giants in Brazil and India displaying their prowess in Europe, Africa and pars of America, it is, in fact, the MNCs that are worried about losing the $150-billion US market.

Post-Doha Development Round, the US government made a serious attempt to dilute the compulsory licensing clause.


Simultaneously, it also tried to stop the least developed coun­tries (LDCs) from using Para 6 of TRIPS that provides a window of opportunity to the poor na­tions to procure generic versions of expensive branded  drugs.

Each time India was denied a advanced know-how by the su­perpowers, be it for launchmg space satellites or creating su­per computers, our scientists came up with better alternatives at a fraction of the original cost


Given India’s enormous pool of scientists and their ability to take on new challenges, the government would do well to ask for a stricter IPR regime.

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