Main content

Patents and Patients

Life 3 - Patents and Patients

If you are not affiliated with a college or university, and are interested in watching this film, please register as an individual and login to rent this film. Already registered? Login to rent this film.

Dr. Yusuf Hamied, Managing Director of the Indian drug company Cipla, thinks the Indian government should put the country 'on a war footing' to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic that threatens his country. As evidence, he cites the 3500 new HIV/AIDS cases that are reported almost daily in India, as well as statistics suggesting that this year the total number of infected Indians may reach 35 million.

But there is another battle being fought, this one over how to deal with the pandemic in developing countries like India: a battle over the patents held on the anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) known to prolong the lives - and minimize the suffering - of HIV sufferers the world over. Cipla produces generic copies of ARVs whose patents officially belong to pharmaceutical giants like Bristol Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline.

But without a proper health infrastructure to monitor patients and ensure the drugs are properly administered, India faces the risk of a drug-resistant HIV explosion, a new epidemic that will lead to even more deaths and misery.

With the support of NCDO The Netherlands; The European Commission Directorate General for Development to promote better understanding of development issues; and the World Health Organization.