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24 Dec 2015

Patenting activity in pharma sector strongest in China among BRIC nations

As emerging markets have been displaying more robust growth rates than developed markets, they are also witnessing increased patenting activity in pharmaceutical sector.

With growth rates in developed markets sliding downwards, emerging markets with higher growth rates such as BRIC are expected to be the key drivers of revenue growth for multinational pharma companies. Therefore, multinational pharmaceutical corporations should have a well-planned strategy for each of the BRIC members in order to achieve global prominence.

Among the BRIC countries, China leads in local and foreign patent filings, finds the new analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Overview of Patenting Activity in Pharma Sector of BRIC Countries. The increase in resident applications accounts for almost all the patenting growth in China during the last few years. Such a high percentage of resident filings, dominated by utility models, raise doubts about the quality of patents emerging from the nation.

"As for non-resident patent applications in the BRIC, Brazil leads, followed by India, Russia and China," said TechVision Senior Consultant Manmohan Singh. "In India and Brazil, big pharma companies dominate patent filings. However, the pace of patent grants in Brazil could drop, with the huge backlog of patent applications at the Brazilian Patent Office (INPI) lengthening the approval process to 8 to 10 years."

In the Indian context, the Supreme Court's rejection of Novatis's patent application on the grounds of Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act raises a big question on the issue of evergreening practices adopted by pharma companies. After India's decision to award compulsory licensing (CL) to Natco for Nexavar, which was patented by Bayer Healthcare, big pharma companies are raising concerns surrounding the possible adverse impacts of this decision on innovator drug companies.

"While more emerging economies deliberate whether to amend their patent laws on CL, the big pharma companies should rethink their existing business models," recommended Singh. "China has already made amendments in its intellectual property laws in order to allow the government to issue compulsory licenses and Brazil is considering a similar initiative."

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