Patent Protection and TRIPS Agreement
Bangladeshi pharmaceutical firms focus primarily on branded generic final formulations using imported APIs. Branded generics are a category of drugs including prescription products that are either novel dosage forms of off-patent products produced by a manufacturer that is not the originator of the molecule, or a molecule copy of an off-patent product with a trade name. About 80% of the drugs sold in Bangladesh are generics and 20% are patented drugs. The country manufactures about 450 generic drugs for 5,300 registered brands which have 8,300 different forms of dosages and strengths. This has been possible for the Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement which was the inspiration of an industrial coalition of developed nations including the United States of America (USA), the European Union (EU) and Japan. The main stimulus for the agreement came from the multinational pharmaceutical corporations and the Intellectual Property Rights Committee (IPRC). The WTO members adopted this special Ministerial Declaration at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha on TRIPS in 2001. Under the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, Bangladesh, along with all other developing countries, is not required to grant such protection until 2016.
Patent protection plays a very important role in pharmaceuticals industry. Anyone who is able to acquire knowledge regarding a composition of a pharmaceutical product developed by someone else through reverse engineering can develop a competing generic product based on the same composition. Those who do so have a huge competitive advantage over the innovator, because they don’t have to bear the research and development cost. They may sell their competing generic products at a price lower than the price the innovator needs to charge for the original to cover the additional costs incurred. Sales of generic products by someone other than the innovator reduce the...
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