India’s Patent regime to deprive AIDS patients

India’s low cost generic drugs have been the Sanjeevani (Elixir, referred to in Indian epics like Ramayan & Mahabharata) to millions of AIDS victims lurking with the unfortunately no cure disease in developed countries. The Drugs patent regime is hitting hard on the patients who otherwise relied on Indian drugs. The Anti-retroviral drugs have been the source of hope to millions affected not only in India but the Africa & the Carribean. Earlier India allowed process patenting and thus there came a league of drugs that are cheap and versions of the MNC sold high cost unreachable drugs which served the poor patients of the third world.

Agencies lobbying on behalf of the AIDS patients argue that the companies have been trying to make out a huge business by depriving the drugs access to the developed world. Its infact a worst case scenrio that the Indian patents regime has come to be a threat to the poor victims says MSF. Nearly 5.21 million people are living with the AIDS virus in India — the second highest figure in the world after SA.

“Patients against Patents,”

“Lives before Profits.”

“We are HIV positive.”

The New York Times report says :

In developed countries, Gilead’s tenofovir costs $5,718 per patient per year. Cipla, one of the largest generic companies in India, is marketing a version called Tenvir, at a cost of $700 per person per year in India. Yusuf Hamied, chairman of Cipla, said the drug would eventually be made available in Africa for about half that price.

The Gaurdian says:

Until last year India permitted the copying of patented drugs, which allowed the country’s pharmaceutical industry to sell cheap versions of Aids drug cocktails, known as antiretrovirals. Legislation enacted in March 2005 curtails the ability of firms to make copycat treatments and allows foreign pharmaceutical companies to claim ownership of drugs.

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