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[e-drug] India's choice (2)(Words and how they are used)

E-DRUG: India's choice (2)(Words and how they are used)
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The New York Times article was correct in advocating that India use Public 
Health provisions to see that compulsory licensing is made easier for drugs 
that are useful.

However it continued the practice of using phrases that obscure some vital 
issues.

"  India has become the world's supplier of cheap AIDS drugs because it has the 
necessary raw materials and a thriving and sophisticated copycat drug industry 
made possible by laws that grant patents to the process of making medicines, 
rather than to the drugs.   "

This implies that somehow this was not done absolutely correctly. Patent laws 
until the WTO agreement were National Rights. Therefore India had every right 
to frame laws that were suitable for it, rather than anybody else.

Consider an alternative 

"India has become the world's supplier of .... made possible by laws that grant 
patents to the process of making medicines (which was allowed under 
International Law), rather than to the drugs themselves."

The phrase "copycat" also has dubious conotations. This implies that everything 
has been copied and is the same; only the molecule is the same and 
manufacturing process developed by Indian industry are very different. In fact 
some of the alternative processes developed have given better yields than the 
original process and have been adopted widely (some times even by the 
innovators). "Knockoffs" too has dubious connotations such as pirated CDs. 

Consider an alternative 

" ... thriving and sophisticated drug industry built on innovative and 
alternative manufacturing processes ...."

And finally the grand daddy of them all "Intellectual Property Rights" - 
Patents are grants, privileges given by a society to the applicant(s). They are 
not similar to Human Rights that an individual intrinsically has. 

Consider how different it would have been if it had been "Intellectual Property 
Privileges" - would overiding privileges have been as difficult "Rights"?

Krisantha Weerasuriya
Regional Adviser, Essential Drugs and Medicines Policies
South East Asian office (WHO)
New Delhi
WeerasuriyaK@WHOSEA.ORG

(Comments made in personal capacity)


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