Sanskrit is still valid

My wife works for a major pharmaceutical company as a medical writer...she works on putting together the reams of documentation required by the FDA for approval. She sent me this link, about India stepping up there efforts to protect "traditional" remedies from modern day pharmaceutical patents.

I'll be the first to admit to knowing next to nothing about Ayurveda or any of the other "traditional" or "holisitic" schools of thought. After reading this article, I recalled watching a Webcast of Bill Gates being interviewed while in India...fairly recent, although I can't seem to find it now. One of the questions Bill was asked was something along the lines of "what does India have to do to continue to grow its place of prominence as technology influencers"....or something like that. Bill's answer was something along the lines of moving from a services-based center of technology to becoming innovators & inventors (not just in terms of R&D, but "real" products)...or something like that.

I could be wrong, but I don't think that this use of 4000 years of medical history in Sanskrit to prevent/limit the "innovations" of others is exactly what Bill had in mind. Newsweek had an entire issue devoted to India, and I'm pretty sure something similar is in there as well. I can understand that using the writings of Ayurveda is probably legitimate in terms of addressing exclusive-rights patents. But to take it to an extreme, which I think is already being done, .... when I was a kid I don't remember having ice packs, at least not the cool chemical or gel things. We had either a bag of actual ice (imagine that;)) or some other item from the fridge/freezer....bag of peas, pork chop, etc. Does this mean that our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents would have been able to protest the patents against these "new-fangled" ice packs? Maybe yes, maybe no...I'm no patent attorney.

I don't really want to get into a big debate about patents and the pharmaceutical industry....but there is much more work that goes into bringing a drug to market than knowing the formula. The patent, as applied to pharmaceuticals, is a way to protect that R & D investment and fund future investment. As I recall the quote from The West Wing..."The second pill costs 49c to make, the first one cost $57 million -- oops, should be billion."