An indigenous diagnostic kit for tuberculous sis is undergoing the final stages of validation final stages of validation and is expected to bring down the cost of diagnosing TB significantly . This was stated by the Director General of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), at a symposium on intellectual property in India organized by the Swiss Embassy .
The new kit is a joint initiative of the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT), ICMR and the health ministry . The health ministry is looking for diagnostics of high quality that is also affordable.
Referring to the recent controversy in the US where a company that had a monopoly over a crucial drug hiked its price by 5,500%. India had to be mindful that companies had that kind of power. The symposium was dominated by those representing Big Pharma interests who emphasised the high costs of drug discovery based on a study by a research centre heavily funded by the pharma industry with pharma-provided data not open to public.
Speakers included those representing the interests of multinational healthcare companies like Roche, Novartis and Lucentix, and those from law firms that fight the patent cases for these companies in India. They spoke about the need to tighten the patent protection system in India and criticized what they saw as the inefficiencies in the patent granting process.
Source: TOI 18 Nov’2015