“Pharmaceutical patents in India, the problem of public access to health”.


This article is about pharmaceutical patents in India. Recently we heard the news about COVID 19 Vaccine and patent there has been constant tension to balance between patent rights and protection of public health. But India proposed a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights on the COVID 19 vaccine. The waiver is important to help Endeavor battle the pandemic by increasing immunization creation and guaranteeing impartial access. Waiver patent from Vaccine helps poor countries to battle with COVID 19. 

This article assists with understanding the idea of Patents and sort out the International Conventions and History of the Indian Patent Act.


Patents, Pharmaceutical patent, Indian Patent Act,1970, Public Access to health, Public health issues 


A patent is an intellectual property right that is granted to an inventor of a product, to exclude others from manufacturing, selling, importing an invention without the permission of the inventor.

As new and improved drugs are being introduced every year in the market, medication or drug patents have gotten especially significant as these medications assist with creating a lot of income for their business benefits. The drug area is a territory wherein advancement impacts the primary concern of the medication makers who focus around innovative work of another medication and cause gigantic expenses in doing as such, where there is neither assurance nor an affirmation that their examination item will endure different testing stages and will monetarily flourish whenever delivered on the lookout.


The Pharmaceutical sector is a territory where advancement impacts the main concern of those drug makers, as such organizations focus more on the innovative work phases of different drugs to figure out which ones will endure and flourish if being delivered into the market.

The patent in the drug industry is important for the following reasons:

  • While it can expand the danger implied when creating drugs, the advantages radically exceed the danger, as development permits drug organizations to separate themselves.
  • The development gives exceptional yields on the venture. While creating and dispatching another medication includes extraordinarily significant expenses, the pace of return on fruitful medications can be a lot higher than the expenses related to acquainting the medication with the market.
  • While the expense of putting up another drug for sale to the public can be so high, drug organizations are attempting to expand benefits by promoting current medications to upgrade the achievement of those medications that they are right now producing, and are available.
  • Patents add to generally 80% of the general income of drug organizations and acquiring patent insurance is essential to protect the imaginative methodologies utilized by pharma organizations. Pharmaceutical patents help recover speculations that are brought about during the innovative work stage. Likewise, drug patents can get against encroachment cases, as contenders can without much of a stretch copy the assembling of a medication. Medication licenses help raise investment, which accordingly, improves the by and large monetary development of organizations working in this industry.


India had a product patent system for all innovations under the Patents and Designs Act 1911.and, in 1970, the Patent Act 1970 (“the Patents Act”) was passed, repealed all past enactments. which excluded drugs and agrochemical items from qualification for patents. This prohibition was acquainted with the split away from India’s reliance on imports for mass drugs and definitions and accommodate advancement of the confident native drug industry. India is additionally a signatory to the Paris Convention for the protection of industrial property, 1883, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty, 1970. The Patents Act gives that any development that fulfills the measures of originality, non-conspicuousness, and handiness can be the topic of a patent. A portion of the non-patentable developments under the Patents Act incorporates techniques for agribusiness or agriculture, measures for the restorative, careful, corrective, prophylactic, or other treatment of individuals, creatures or plants or substances got by a simple admixture, coming about just in the conglomeration of the properties of the parts, and so on.


The current worldwide health crisis and popularity for Drugs and vaccine implies their makers have enough nations and clients to supply to. The enormous volumes would guarantee that they can recuperate the expenses on their scientific investments. India’s Patents Act of 1970 accommodates issue of mandatory licenses in public health crisis. the arrangements in regards to mandatory licensing is explicitly set down under Chapter XVI of the Patent Act 1970. The different rules which should be satisfied for an obligatory permit to be allowed are set down under Sections 84 and 92 of the Act, like the reason for the award of a necessary permit, factor to be considered by the Controller while choosing an award of mandatory permit, the broadly useful of the award of necessary license, etc.

Curiously, one of the drug organizations for example Gilead which has protected Remdesivir, an expansive range against viral medication which has shown the potential for treating COVID-19.


The appropriate response is Yes, patent influences general medical care administrations. As we probably are aware each coin has two appearances, in Patent of Drugs influence positively as well as negatively. The patent framework guarantees the market selectiveness and option to deliver and appropriate the drugs which prompts organizations to expand the expenses for benefits which is regularly done to recover the related innovative work and creations costs taking all things together. Even though the arrangement of licenses gives impetuses to advancement, innovative work in the drug business, these organizations increment the expense of medications and prescriptions when contrasted with their creation costs. This brings about the issue of the absence of admittance to fundamental medicines. But, The issue of access to medicines has assumed global dimensions for a millennium because of India being a part of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, 2001. With its established and increasingly export-oriented pharmaceutical industry being complemented by civil society awareness. India has been at the center of the global access to medicines campaign. The Indian industry gave the campaign an economic backbone by showing that an alternative pharmaceutical industry was possible. The recent patent law decisions including that of the Supreme Court in the Novartis case, indicate that India continues to put a premium on public health about pharmaceutical patent law decisions. Thus we see that the pharmaceutical patents restrict the generic competition and thus increase prices, and are thought to be a significant barrier to access to medicines in developing countries. 


In Peoples Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India, the state is under a sacred commitment to see that there is no infringement of the crucial right of any individual. The public authority is, along these lines, bound to guarantee recognition of different social government assistance measures inconsistency with mandate standards of state strategy.

In Consumer Education and Research Centre v. Union of India, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to health and medical care to protect health and vigor while in service or post-retirement is a fundamental right of the worker under article 21. In the instant case, the court also held that health insurance while in service or after retirement, is a fundamental right and even private industries are enjoined to provide health insurance to the workman.

In Bandua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India, Bhagwati J, in this case, held that:

“It may not be possible to compel the state through the judicial process to make a provision by statutory enactment or executive fiat for ensuring these essentials which go to make up a life of human dignity but where legislation is enacted by the state providing these basic requirements to the workmen and thus investing their right to live with basic human dignity, the state can certainly be obligated to ensure observance of such legislation; for inaction on the part of the state would amount to denial to the amount to live with human dignity enshrined in article 21, more so in the context of article 256 which provides that the executive cannot remain inert when the administration does not provide an adequate measure to provide access to health.”


After dissecting the situation with India’s drug industry and the extent of the conventional medications in India just as outside India and the different lawful instruments and enactments in regards to wellbeing, necessary permitting has a significant spot in the patent framework as the mandatory permit goes about as a significant device to adjust the interest of different IP and general wellbeing partners. The public authority should step in to take favor to dynamic measures to guarantee available medical care for all, protection plans where wellbeing inclusion stretches out to the least fortunate of poor people, it’s really at that time would we be able to interpret simple great wellbeing on papers to rehearse. Further, the public authority ought to put resources into the type of innovative work at the college level and think of all the more financially valued medications and that the public authority ought to energize the public sector undertaking (PSU’s) to attempt the essential exploration.


India is a developing country and needs to look for harmony between ensuring protected IPR and fulfilling individuals’ medical service needs. They likewise need to promote the inconsistency advancement and energize the improvement of domestic industries. As individuals from the WTO, India has made a progression of changes to their separate general sets of laws because of the TRIPS Agreement’s principles of licensed innovation insurance, including the acknowledgment of drug item licenses, presentation of a mandatory authorizing framework, and the Bolar exception. In advancing the improvement of the domestic drug industry, India’s involvement with the enactment and legal practice merits genuine attention, such as utilizing TRIPS’ adaptability to work with admittance to prescriptions, carrying out obligatory permitting to make more possibility for deliberate authorizing arrangement, and refreshing the rules for inspecting drug applications to forestall truly greening of pharmaceutical patents.

 Name: Aditya Mahodaya 

LL.B(Hons)- 2nd Year

Institute: Indore Institute of Law

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