Multinational Pharmaceutical companies are often accused of
exorbitant pricing, using surreptitious ways to extend the patent
protection for their drugs (read – ever greening) etc. In an
attempt to prove such accusations incorrect GSK, a leading
pharmaceutical Company has recently announced that it will stop
filing for patents in less developing countries thereby allowing
the generic manufacturers for such countries to make cheap copies
of their drugs and increase its access among the public.
As for its plan for the middle income countries, GSK aims at
filing patents in those countries but will charge a small sales
royalty thereby allowing for sale of original drugs at a lesser
price. This development is a cause for celebration for the
countries falling in the abovementioned categories but GSK has
expressly specified that it will continue to seek full patent
protection in countries like India, China and Brazil. It has
further announced that it will allow its competitors to develop
upon its cancer drugs through the UN backed Medicines Patent
This is a philanthropic move by GSK and is an example of a
corporate engaging in a responsible behavior and addressing the
access to medicines problem which has been raised time and again by
several NGOs, private organizations and was also the subject matter
of Doha declaration. One can only hope more corporates will follow
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