;   Medical Translation Insight: More challenges to drug patents in Asia - ForeignExchange Translations

More challenges to drug patents in Asia

As we have written before, discussions around pharmaceutical patents in developing countries tend to become heated and involve moral, economic, and social issues. In the past, much of this debate has centered around India but now Indonesia is entering the fray as well.

Last month, the Indonesian government moved to expand access to various medicines by authorizing use of patents for seven HIV and hepatitis B treatments. The decree may represent the broadest single instance in which pharmaceutical patents were overridden by a government since the 1995 World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property, according to Public Citizen (and quoted in Pharmalot). The article goes on to say:
"If the decree ... is implemented, the measure is expected to introduce what advoates believe would be 'widespread generic competition and generate potentially massive cost savings in the world’s fourth most populous country.'

The move comes amid a growing international struggle between the pharmaceutical industry, poor countries and patient advocates over access to medicines that often are priced out of reach for many people. Although drugmakers often maintain patient-assistance programs, these efforts have been dwarfed by calls for lower prices and compulsory licenses to ensure drugs for such ailments as cancer and AIDS are accessible to those who are unable to afford them."
How this plays out in Indonesia will have far-reaching consequences - on other countries, on pharmaceutical companies, and possibly on medical translation providers.


ForeignExchange provides specialized medical translation solutions to pharaceutical, biotech, and clinical research companies.
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