Friday, February 7, 2014

PhRMA Is Set To Weigh In -- On India: Respecting IP Vs. Affordable Access To Life-Saving Medicines

Earlier today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce labeled India the equivalent of a "worst offender" nation, insofar as protection of intellectual property rights is concerned.

And as regular readers know, we have talked at length about this issue before (additional background here). And we are awaiting a written opinion, and a formal decision, from the Indian court system, on the Glenmark v. Merck Januvia® patent fight. That spat covers all this same territory.

It will come as only a scant surprise that pharmaceutical and biotech trade associations are "holding the mic," on this "India IP: Show Some RESPECT!" discussion -- at the US Chamber, this week.

In fact, later today, PhRMA itself (the trade association for US pharmaceuticals) is set to weigh in on it -- and probably label India an "of highest concern" IP emerging nation. India is a burgeoning free market so vast, and at least according to studies PhRMA favors, the Indian IP protection scheme -- at present -- is a free market significantly less-well policed than. . . that's right, China's. Oh my. Here's a bit of what PhRMA is likely to say, late this afternoon (casting it in a positive light) -- from its most-favored study, at the bottom of page 35, then:
. . . .We further find that if India provided IP protections comparable to the United States, the total invested capital in the Indian pharmaceutical sector would increase from 28,284,704 rupees lakh in 2011-2012 to 64,624,720 rupees lakh in 2019-2020, or 128.5 percent. . . .

Of this increase, 4,007,840 rupees lakh or 11.0 percent can be attributed to stronger IP protections. Total employment in the industry over the same period would grow from 1,136,711 jobs to 1,627,261 jobs, an increase of 490,550 positions or 43.2 percent. Of this increase, 43,851 jobs or 8.9 percent is attributed to the stronger IP protections. Finally, the average wage in the sector would increase from 76,605 Rupees ($1,665.33) to 123,123 Rupees ($2,676.59), an increase of 46,518 Rupees or 60.7 percent. . . .

And of course, all of that increased employment, capital and earnings would be wonderful for India, should it in the future (circa 2018 to 2020) emerge -- but in the mean time, India's governmental leaders will reply that perhaps 35 million very sick people now dying inside India -- have no chance of being able to afford these life saving medicines.

Obviously, those 35 million peoples' lives dwarf the 43,851 additional very nice jobs created (and to be fair, all the above happy face investing news). In fact, these medicines are being manufactured in India's very own neighborhoods, in Mumbai and Goa and New Delhi (by their own cousins, uncles and aunts) -- but immediately boxed and shipped to far off lands, while relying on this very highly-skilled, but also very cheap Indian labor pool. [Look at the wages, as admitted above by PhRMA's favored study guru: Under $3,000 a year, even after 2020.]

In point of additional fact -- only 15 percent of the Indian populace carries any insurance at all (and there is no governmental payor, even remotely akin to ours). In sum then, the drugs are too far out of reach. So it is indeed a problem with deep and tangled roots -- and not so many easy, clear answers, in my experienced opinion. Do stay tuned.

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