My faith in the Indian judicial system remains. The Apex Court recently barricaded the med sharks to resuscitate the generic medicine industry in the country. Millions of patients shall benefit enormously from this directive, majorly belonging to the underprivileged strata of the society. Yet the drug corporations backed by a vociferous lobby from the US are going hammer & tongs over the ruling. Many have started unethical blackmailing by threatening to stop further R&D in India.
I say, let India stand her ground. A major chunk of foreign revenue notwithstanding, a lot of hopes are with India to fund a global drive against patenting—a euphemism for corporate profiteering. We have seen this happening in the US. Patients affected with HIV or cancer, often at loggerheads with their healthcare bills have been reduced to penury. The drug companies willingly cast an unsympathetic outlook of them as they keep on “inventing” newer improvements, all for securing tighter patents.
The whole symbol of patenting has been diverted for the corporates’ own vested interests. Patent was a system for protecting intellectual property rights of the righteous inventor. It ensured that no one could fraudulently take credit for the same. Patents have served their original purpose all right. The needs for humanitarian aid are obliquely different, however. Nowhere is it mentioned that drugs aren’t supposed to be administered for eradication of human misery if not approved by the inventor or corporation. Let him take his due in cash & kind, but not let the souls of other mortals suffer because of one person’s ambitions.
One beautiful example is of the inventor of the Polio vaccine Dr. Jonas Salk. Perchance he’d been selfish in his ambitions and zealously safeguarded the formula; one can safely assume that polio would still have been a menace in India. The cost of manufacturing would have been high enough to discourage frequent immunization programs in developing countries. We’re fortunate to have a selfless genius as the vaccine’s inventor. Equally commendable was Nikola Tesla and his selfless contribution to humanism. His prodigy included development of the A/C power, X-rays, radar and a host of other marvels. He left his entire work in the public domain, refusing to let his credits deter the further developments of these technologies. We had his contemporary Edison, who in his zeal to outdo Tesla and make more profits out of his D/C power company, publicly electrocuted animals to show the “dangers” of A/C. The name of Edison remains more familiar in our educational syllabus, ironically enough.
The R&D of drug companies is a farce in the fact that their primary motive is not to cure diseases—at least not for the masses—but to garner more profits. One of the primary reasons why healthcare sector should be Gov. controlled or controlled by a public organization. Cuba, one of the idols of Socialism, has an impeccable healthcare policy with a life expectancy of above 75 years. The West may cringe about the lack of “entrepreneurship”, which can be called another euphemism for private control and corporatization. This goes without saying that it does not mean that the credit goes undelivered. It justly ensures that the fruits of intelligence can be savored by masses in as much a way as the labors of the land which nourished that body.
The companies shall try appealing to wrestle the arms of the law. I stand behind the Judiciary in full faith for the hopes of the sickened unfortunate. The secret formula of Coca-Cola vaulted behind Swiss banks is patented; that is nevertheless inconsequential regardless of its ‘popularity’. A similar treatment to life-saving drugs would be catastrophic, with the usual masses of the world as their victims.