by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
india, patents, pharma

eli lilly, novartis, pfizer

Pfizer, Novartis & Eli Lilly Received A Bunch Of Illegal Pharma Patents In India

from the jacking-up-the-price-on-known-medicines dept

As you may or may not know, India only recently changed its patent laws (under sever pressure from foreign countries and pharmaceutical companies) to allow pharmaceutical patents. Before that, pharmaceuticals (for the most part) were unpatentable there. Of course, contrary to what patent system supporters would tell you, India had a thriving pharma industry. Yes, a lot of it was in generic drugs, but according to patent system supporters if people can just copy each other, no one will even bother to get into that business. Reality shows that wasn't true. But, of course, the big pharma companies were quite upset by all of this, and got their governments to put pressure on India to "join the world community." In 2005, India's new patent laws went into effect, and while the results of all of this are still being analyzed, one thing that politicians smartly put into the law were sections 3(d) and (e), "which restrict protection being granted to already known and long-ago patented drugs and their combinations." This upset pharma industry sympathisers, but it's hard to fathom who could reasonably be against such a rule. You simply should not be able to patent things that are already known or patent the simple combinations of drugs that are already known. This is just common sense to prevent pharmaceutical firms from getting monopolies on drugs already out there.

However, Jamie Love points us to the news of a new report that found that the Indian patent office has gone against this law and issued such patents quite frequently and, no surprise, the main recipients are among the world's largest pharma companies, including Pfizer, Novartis and Eli Lilly. Is it any wonder that they've all been pushing to dump sections 3(d) and (e) all along? Remember, pharma patents are not about drug discovery, but about jacking up the prices on drugs.

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