Roundup of the week (March13 – March 19) – Part 2

#3. Compulsory licensing to make patented drugs cheaper <Patients over patents>

Issue arose as US industry groups recently claimed the Indian government offered them a “private” assurance that compulsory licences will not be issued, save in emergencies and for non-commercial purposes.

Issues -1. Should govt be assuring them privately <policies should be made transparently>

2. When should govt use the flexibility of compulsory licensing (CL) under TRIPS-

Some basics – Compulsory licencing is a safeguard under TRIPS provision of WTO based on national circumstances <not just under public health emergencies or urgency>

Under Indian patents act, to grant CL three conditions need to be satisfied

  1. three years from the date of the grant of a patent
  2. the invention is not available to the public at an affordable price
  3. drug/ invention is not being manufactured in India

Under CL, govt allows domestic generic producers to manufacture drug without the consent of Patent holder who agrees to market the drug at substantially lower rate. pay some royalty to patent holder.

So far, India has issueed only one compulsory license for a kidney cancer drug where in sharp contrast to Bayer’s (innovator) Rs 2.8 lakh per month price tag, Natco offered to sell its version of the drug at Rs 8,800 per month.

 

Under CL, govt allows domestic generic producers to manufacture drug without the consent of Patent holder who agrees to market the drug at substantially lower rate. pay some royalty to patent holder.

So far, India has issueed only one compulsory license for a kidney cancer drug where in sharp contrast to Bayer’s (innovator) Rs 2.8 lakh per month price tag, Natco offered to sell its version of the drug at Rs 8,800 per month.

Consider these per month treatment costs


 

Needless to say, India should fully utilize flexibility available under TRIPS to make drugs affordable while also respecting interests of innovators. Full article here. <What are the other public health safeguards under TRIPS? Answer in the comments>


 

#4. Issue of drug pricing : a bitter pill to swallow

In India National Pharmaceutical Pricing authority (NPPA) brought 348 drugs into India’s National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) under the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013. But there were significant loopholes based on which Supreme court termed whole policy irrational and unreasonable.

  1. Only drugs covered, not all the formulations and combinations of the drugs
  2. only 18% of the domestic market share of drugs under price control
  3. in some cases, maximum price of a medicine is fixed well above the price of the market leader

Price controls remain an effective answer to ensuring affordability. Even free markets in the West utilise price, volume and cost-effective controls to mitigate health-care inflation. Canada has its Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, while Egypt has brought all medicines under price control. Lebanon has utilised regressive margin pricing and improved transparency by publishing patient prices on its online Lebanon National Drug Index.

  1. Read full article here
  2. Follow this story to read imp updates of ministry of health

#5. Swearing in of democratically elected president in Myanmar

As Suu Kyi can not be president <barred constitutionally as her son and husband hold british passport>, her aide U Htin Kyaw became the president. To know ,What potential it holds to transform India- Myanmar relations, read this explianer. The hindu editorial here


#6. Revisiting the sedition Law

Govt admitted in parliament that definition of sedition is too wide and requires reconsideration. Govt should now be bold in revisiting the sedition law.

Vague and ‘over-broad’ definitions of offences often result in mindless prosecutions based merely on the wording of the act that seems to allow both provocative and innocuous speeches to be treated as equally criminal. One way to limit its mischief is to narrow the definition; but a more rational and constitutional option would be to scrap the provision altogether.

Read everything you need to know including supreme court judgement, law commision recommendatins about sedition in this awesome explainer.

The Hindu editorial here

Keep a note of SAARC and India Pakistan relations as SAARC summit will be in nov in Islamabad just before mains and will be a hot topic <just when aspirants stop reading newspaper but UPSC knows that event is before mains and can set the question>

  1. Read this primer on SAARC
  2. Follow ‘Foreign Policy Watch: India-SAARC Nations’ story to keep yourself updated

Self Study and Questions to answer

  1. Learn the differences b/w money bill and financial bill ( both types of financial bill).
  2. Powers of speaker? How is speaker appointed and removed?
  3. Compare and contrast Rajya Sabha with Legislative councils. Also compare Rajya Sabha with US Senate and House of Lords.

By Root

Caretaker @civilsdaily