Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Final lap...

Finally the wait is over. No!!No!! Its not the ICC cricket world cup. That hardly interests me. This is about civil service(mains) exam results which just got declared this morning. Whatever little hope I had were shattered by the long wait that the results had put me through. Plus the speculation on the possible dates made me more restive.

Now let me get to that point. The results are out. And I am in for the interview. There’s whole one month for the preparation. Hope everything goes well till the final race…

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The drug debacle

It took ten years of time for India to prepare itself for the current mayhem that has surfaced in the pharmaceutical industry. They call it the IPR regime. This regime promises protection to patent holders, copyright holders and curbs piracy. But all of them comes at a cost. There is fear across the world among many NGOs and poor people themselves. It’s the fear of being deprived of the fruits of technological advancement, as they have to pay exorbitant prices which would include royalty to the patent holders. The case in point is the Novartis AG’s claim to have the patent for its drug “Gleevac”, registered in India and its determination to fight it in the court at the stake of its own reputation. Can you imagine a life saving drugs company infuriating the masses and bringing them onto the road?

Novartis AG’s act of obstinacy stems from the flexibility that TRIPS agreement provides to its members. And this what actually has cast the world’s eyes on India. As the TRIPS agreement did not provide for a firm definition of what is patentable, India restricted its right only to drugs invented after 1995, the year in which WTO regime was kick started, and new and “ more efficacious” version of older drugs. Backing on its legislation it rejected the patent application of Novartis AG which had filed a law suit against India contending that its patent laws violate WTO rules.

What adds more fun to this whole lot of issue is the controversy that R.A. Mashelkar committee is embroiled in. the committee report evoked allegations of “technical inaccuracies and plagiarism”. To throw more light, it was accused of plagiarizing a report, verbatim, made by another institute, Interpat, which is sponsored by a group of MNCs. And Novartis is one of the sponsors. The very agenda of the committee is to examine whether limiting the granting of the patent to “new chemical entity” is in compatibility with the TRIPS obligations. And it is very much the bone of contention between Novartis AG’ and government of India. The committee chairman said he is unaware of this fact. In this case Novartis had just tried to be the judge of its own case.

But all this cannot shake Daniel Vasella, Chief Exective of Novartis. He is poised to continue his action against India. “We don’t want popularity awards. We want to serve our patients and remain competitive” he said at his company’s AGM. There he has made it clear who the company wants to serve and who it does not want to. Bold move, my boy!!!

The drams ,of this sort, of globalization are still to continue….