Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pharmacueutical industry faces fresh pressure on intellectual property

Expect new pressures on the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to protecting the patents on their product portfolio.

In some territories such as China the situation is far from clear from the legal point of view. But even if a pharmaceutical company feels it has a strong case, the real question is whether the corporation has the moral strength to pursue a court battle.

As we saw in the collapse of a prominent legal battle in S Africa over the use of generic drugs against HIV, the industry as a whole shows little appetite for big, highly publicised legal cases.

The more urgently needed a drug is to help save lives in the poorest nations, the greater the probability that the patent owner will be under pressure to allow other manufacturers to make and sell more or less at cost, or to cut their own market price.

Future blockbuster drugs are therefore more likely to be those which are targetted at developed markets, for lifestyle or chronic conditions.

In the meantime the cost of developing a new drug is approaching $1bn, and the time needed for the whole process of discovery through to marketing can be as long as 15 years, further eroding the 25 year protection interval for exploitation of a discovery.
Post a Comment