PharmAsia News: How can biotech companies protect their intellectual property rights in Asia when they are up against emerging biosimilars such as Dr. Reddy's biosimilar of rituximab?
Greenwood: Intellectual property rights are under assault in this country and around the world. In some instances, that is for commercial reasons, but in other instances it is because either policy makers and others are understandably feeling a sense of urgency to get access to products that are available in the developing world and might not be available elsewhere. But also because they are recognizing the high cost of health care and intellectual property rights is a bastion to protect a pricing strategy."
...We need "to explain that for the purpose of a short-term agenda, undermining intellectual property rights, you are really undermining the ability of everyone to be innovative...The undermining of intellectual property rights is the equivalent of eating your seed corn. It meets your short-term objective, but long-term it ends the cycle of regeneration."
PharmAsia News: Thailand recently issued ultimatums to two pharma companies that if they didn't cut their prices by at least 60 percent, they would face compulsory licensing. Do you think this is going to be a trend, and how will biotechs deal with that?
Greenwood: In the long run, Thailand is going to have to understand that it needs the products of innovative companies more than innovative companies need the Thai market. The Thai market is small by all measures, and it is extraordinarily myopic of the Thailand government to take that approach. There is no history of it being a successful approach. The Thai government would be far better off working with drug reimbursement companies, working with non-governmental organizations and with multilateral organizations to help meet its health care needs...Thailand's strategy absolutely will not succeed...
There is a worldwide assault from countries like Brazil that stems from a world view that somehow big corporations and wealthy nations can produce goods for the developing world without limit and that the only way for smaller countries and poorer nations to gain access to those is to essentially - to put it in the bluntest form - steal them. I use the seed corn metaphor. But another metaphor is that it is like draining the reservoir to meet your water needs. It might last for a season, but then the source of the good is gone."
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