Monday, June 6, 2011

Indian Patent Office increases transparency by releasing working details of drug Patents to the public

In a move to ensure greater transparency, the Indian Patent office will publish details of drug Patents in India. At present in India, Patent holders are required to furnish a Form 27 detailing the commercial use of the product, the amount of local sales, the amount of import and whether the supply of the product is meeting its demand. This is to ensure that the patent is being used commercially up to its optimum utility and that the demand for these medicines is being met. Right to Information inquiry revealed that many drug makers did not disclose all the relevant information required to be furnished under Form 27 and also failed to file the Form on some occasions. Failure to file Form 27 is punishable under the Indian Patents Act.
In India a monopoly right for 20 years is granted to patent holders for their drug patent. However in case the government is satisfied that the patented drug is not meeting the public need, then a compulsory license may be granted to a third party in order to ensure that the need of the public are met. This may open the doors to companies wishing to provide the drug to a larger number of people at a lower cost. Now local drug makers will have easy access to all the information regarding patented drugs and may apply for a compulsory license if they find that any drug is not meeting the pubic need.
Summary: The Indian Patent office will make known to the public all the details of drug patents granted in India. Now local drug makers will find it easier to know, whether there are any patented drugs which fail to meet the public need and may thereby obtain compulsory licence in order to sell the drugs at a lower cost.