Project Title: Patients or Patents? The Role of Intellectual Property Rights and Pharmacology in Northern India
Student: Valentina Marginean ’16
Mentor: Dr. Vicki DiLillo
India's public healthcare system's polarized health inequities are perpetuated by institutionalized stratification, racism and elitism. These factors impede the average Indian’s access to healthcare. To compensate for these inequities, India utilizes its generic drug industry to supply medicine at free or reduced costs through central government schemes. India’s drug industry produces the third largest quantity of generic medicine in the world and is a rising stakeholder in international trade policies. In response to the 1995 Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, India was one of the first countries to apply public health safeguards to protect the interests of patients, not patents. The scope of this study is to examine Indian stakeholder’s perceptions on access to medicine policies and intellectual property rights. The data was collected through secondary literature review, interviews, and observation through shadowing pertinent stakeholders such as legislatures, non-government organizations (NGOs) and pharmaceutical representatives. Using a human rights framework suggested by philosopher Johnathan Wolff, this study concludes if stakeholders perceive an obligation to protect intellectual property at the risk of inhibiting access to generic medicines.