Friday, November 17, 2006
HYPERFOCUS ON PATENTS - a tragedy for patients
The obsession on drug patent(s) and TRIPS is causing much hardship in making drugs and health care products available at an economical price. Morever, having patent rights is itself a great source of income for pharma companies, thus many good molecules and drugs that are beyond the ken of patents are not picked up for commercialization and/or intensive marketing by pharma companies. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that pharma companies are more in the business of intellectual property, patent holdings & evergreening products rather than marketing products. In fact this innovation led business activity is said to be the highest of profitable business models where in the focus is on innovation and creating intellectual property and gaining value, rather than marketing products based on target audiences. So who cares about health and societal or market needs when the focus of pharma companies is on intellectual property, patents, monopoly markets for products, profits and big money.
We have to take a leaf from Mohd. Yunus of Grameen Bank, the 2006 Nobel prize winner for Economics, who identified the poor as a target market and went about in a businesslike manner making financial products (micro credit) available to them. This has made his bank profitable and at the same time given life lines to the poor. ICICI bank in India is working on the same lines. Marketing sense is the most important sense for companies. This sense is more important than the faculty of intellectual property or innovation or R & D of an organisation. In fact, this MARKETING SENSE is even more important to pharma companies.