Pharma Patents or Drug Patents

On October 17th, 2011, Posted by author

Last modified: October 26, 2015

Patent is derived from the Latin “patere”, meaning to lay open in public. Patents are rights issued by governments to permit the inventor or innovator to restrain others from using their inventions. Patents are awarded to inventions and also some discoveries.

It is considered as a legal monopoly because the time allotted is usually sufficient to manufacture, and propagate data and processes that are related to the patented product.

Pharma 1Pharma patents or drug patents are usually awarded separately for the chemical formula of the drug and the process used in manufacture of the drug. This allows the inventor to innovate new procedures and processes to manufacture the drug. But it also prevents others from using the design or process.

Unlike patents in the other industries, the pharma patents have special problems. Drugs have not only to be manufactured but must also be tested extensively in the lab and in clinical trials that are complex, detailed and very expensive, in order to get the FDA certification. The patent time allotted to the inventor could get exhausted by the time the certification is awarded. This then makes it easy for others to replicate these drugs inexpensively and without any of the hassles experienced by the original inventor.


And again, other industries are able to protect their patents by secrecy until it is out in the market. These inventors can maximise the effect of the 20 year patenting time by delaying the filing for patent as long as possible. As a result, they benefit from their invention much more than one holding a drug patent. The pharmaceutical industry and the scientists working in the medical field are obliged to share their knowledge and research with their colleagues and secrecy cannot be maintained.

from the point of view of the patients who need the drugs, patenting makes drugs too expensive to be afforded, especially for those in the developing countries. Access to life-saving drugs is thus denied to them because of the patents. The poorer countries, who cannot manufacture the drugs themselves and have to depend on the imported drugs from the developed countries are put under more strain.

However, it has to be admitted that patenting has helped in the widening of the research and development of drugs by the commercial pharmaceutical companies.

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