Drugs for World's Poor
Cervical Cancer Vaccine
Success in the knowledge economy is a function of accessing and exploiting
information, of which patents are rich storehouses. Patents are exclusive
repositories of 80% of the world's known technical information, and are good
resources for market/company strategy, industry trends, key industry human
resources, company alliances, to name a few. Because patents are granted each
week worldwide, businesses that have the most recent, complete and relevant
information are well ahead of the curve.
Patent-savvy businesses generate greater value with patents by:
* Practicing them to protect products and technology
* Utilizing them to control markets
* Licensing them for revenue
* Managing them to push corporate strategy
* Leveraging them in partnerships and alliances
* Asserting them in patent litigation
* Collateralizing them to raise capital
* Mining them for the industry's key inventors
Derwent World Patents Index® (DWPI®) will soon include Indian patent
data, of both pre-grant applications and granted patents. The inclusion
of Indian patents in DWPI follows the culmination of the government’s long
process of amending India’s national patent laws to ensure they conform to
Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) norms. This addition is
significant for DWPI because it is expected that Indian patent activity will
increase dramatically, particularly in the fields of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology
and information technology. Despite the resistance from some quarters
in India and world, India has now become a major player in the IP arena
and no one can stop India's strides towards technological supremacy.
Early this month, at Venkataramarao Alla (AVR)'s birthday party, Nobel Laureates
like Sharpless and Tanaka were present. Eminent chemists like Fleming, Ley
and Davies were also present along with hundreds of IICT graduates.
Events included a symposium and a factory opening. This event shines
light on AVR's success story and indicates that Hyderabad (i.e., India) has
traveled a long way in the past 15 years.
After opening up of Indian economy in early 90s, within decade or so, Hyderabad
has distinguished itself as a producer of chemicals and pharmaceuticals (and
engineers) and placed itself on the world map. Despite misgivings,
misinformation and propaganda against product patent regime, India has entered
a new era this year paving the way for a new super power - the Indian Union.
Contributions of dedicated entrepreneur-scientists like AVR have paved the
way for such accomplishments. India has the potential to take over
the world with its new products in about 15 years (or even less) if they
implement a strict product patent regime that will bolster research and indigenous
development of new products in every field. It is important to note
that the supremacy of the United States is due to its technological supremacy
driven by the product patent regime and its military supremacy.
Drugs for World's
Conditions that kill millions of people in the developing world every year
have long been ignored by not only by Western firms since medicines to fight
them make no money, but also by third world firms, because there was no incentive
for them to develop new drugs.
Now, however, the emergence of a new kind of public-private partnership and
the creation of novel funding institutions such as the Global Fund to Fight
AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in addition to the new product patent regimes
in countries like India, may be moving the goalposts. According to the non-profit
group Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), which was founded in
2003 by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, a mere 10 percent of health
research resources go into diseases accounting for 90 percent of the global
Companies are learning that the consumers of the future live in India, Asia,
Latin America and Africa. In April, DNDi unveiled its first commercial
development success after linking with Sanofi-Aventis SA to bring a new anti-malaria
pill to market in 2006. GlaxoSmithKline Plc, meanwhile, is outlining
its plans this week to work in partnership with various groups to develop
new medicines for a range of tropical diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis.
Novartis AG has a new tropical disease research centre in Singapore, AstraZeneca
Plc is working on tuberculosis in India and Pfizer Inc runs an infectious
diseases institute in Uganda.
The Lancet medical journal said in April a global partnership of more than
90 organizations and countries to reduce deaths from malaria may have done
more harm than good. It said rates of infection and deaths from the
disease had actually risen since the Roll Back Malaria partnership, which
includes the World Bank and World Health Organization, pledged to cut them
in 2000. The World Bank announced it will expand its fight against malaria,
one of Africa's biggest killers, because global efforts in the past five
years have failed. The World Bank report said Africa was the worst
affected region, followed by India, Southeast Asia, the eastern Mediterranean
region, and western Pacific. It said malaria had made a resurgence because
of resistance to traditional first-line treatments such as chloroquine and
sulfadoxine pyrimethamine. The World Bank's new strategy includes a special
task force to ensure that antimalarial efforts are part of its lending programs
for poor countries. It also includes additional funding to replicate in other
countries antimalarial programs that have been successful in Brazil, Eritrea,
India and Vietnam, the report said. The bank hopes the international
community could help make the new and effective artemisinin-based combination
therapy more available to the poor and invest more in research on a possible
malaria vaccine, the report said.
An international study published in the British journal The Lancet Oncology
found that the new version of the experimental vaccine Gardasil blocked about
90 percent of infections with four human papillomavirus (HPV) types, in the
short term. During two-and-a-half years of follow up, none of the women who
got the vaccine developed cervical cancer, precancerous lesions or genital
warts. The study looked at 552 women aged 16 to 23, in the United States,
Europe and Brazil, half of who got the vaccine while the others got a placebo.
The Gardasil vaccine, developed by Merck & Co., is designed to prevent
infection with HPV 16, 18, 6 and 11. HPV 16 and 18 cause most cases of cervical
cancer, while HPV types 6 and 11 are more responsible for noncancerous genital
Pharmaceuticals improve health. We now have more medicines and better medicines
for more diseases than ever before. However, America also overindulges far
too often, forgetting, "all drugs are poisonous!" About 130 million Americans
swallow, inject, inhale, infuse, spray, and pat on prescribed medication
every month, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates.
Americans buy much more medicine per person than any other country.
The number of prescriptions has swelled by two-thirds over the past decade
to 3.5 billion yearly, according to IMS Health, a pharmaceutical consulting
company. Americans devour even more nonprescription drugs, polling
suggests. Recently, safety questions have beset some depression and
anti-inflammatory drugs, pushing pain relievers Vioxx and most recently Bextra
from the market. Rising ranks of doctors, researchers and public health experts
are saying that America is overmedicating itself. It is buying and
taking far too much medicine, too readily and carelessly. Well over
125,000 Americans die from drug reactions and mistakes each year, according
to Associated Press projections from landmark medical studies of the 1990s.
That could make pharmaceuticals the fourth-leading national cause of death
after heart disease, cancer and stroke. The pharmaceutical industry
served up more than $250 billion worth of sales last year, the vast majority
in prescriptions, according to industry consultants. That roughly equaled
sales at all the country's gasoline stations put together, or an $850 pharmaceutical
fill-up for every American.
Federal regulators have told the makers of the popular drugs Levitra and
Zyrtec to pull some advertisements the regulators said made unsubstantiated
claims. The commercial for Levitra, an erectile dysfunction drug, features
a woman praising the drug, and, according to the FDA, implying that her sexual
experience with her partner was satisfying as a result of her partner's use
of Levitra. She says the drug is "the best way to experience the difference."
The FDA said this is an unprovable claim. The commercial also fails to highlight
side effects and FDA warnings, the agency said. The ads for Zyrtec compare
two people; one obviously sick, sneezing or wiping her nose, and another
who looks perfectly healthy. The captions of the ads imply that the healthy
and alert-looking person has taken Zyrtec; the sickly and unhappy one has
taken a different medication. The FDA said it "is not aware of substantial
evidence or substantial clinical experience demonstrating that Zyrtec is
clinically superior" to any other available over-the-counter or prescription