Counter-argument from India on the optimum patent protection
Actually , they, the US and EU, ought to learn from us [India]. As UN special rapporteur on health, I had advised them to change their patent laws along the lines of the Indian one because we found that with their law, a majority of the drugs being patented were just new forms of existing drugs with no change in therapeutic efficacy. It is precisely to prevent this sort of tweaking of existing drugs to get patents that we have section 3(d). FDA's own data says 76% of drug patents in the US are for new forms of existing drugs. I pointed out to them that they were giving the same number of years under patent for an original new molecule as for new forms of an existing molecule. Companies make the same amount of money by tweaking existing molecules. So what's their incentive to discover new molecules? That's why the discovery of new molecules is grinding to a halt. If they had a law like ours, they would see how many new molecules and drugs would be discovered. But the pharma lobby that heavily funds US elections is too strong for the government to bring the necessary changes in patent laws.