Image Credit: Rajasthan ministry of Ayurved
India, known as the country of tradition, culture and natural healing has been going through a serious problem in health sector recently in which medicinal plants patent protection were the most highlighted issue. Wide range of ayurvedic plants and use of it perhaps made other countries to be attracted on us which gradually made agony too. Why this is so important for us? Why patents need to be stopped? What are the effects?
Aeon back, the sages in India have gone through many studies about healing of human body in many methods such as meditation, ayurveda, yunani, siddha etc. May be we are the only one who can establish the ownership on this rather than anyone. Because it became the part of our tradition and we cannot spoil it by giving a bad image. If the case going in a bad manner, we are completely responsible for it and the mentality have to be changed. Of course it will change once we know what happening in the outside world. For that we need an analysis of various medical plants and patents covered by companies.
Indian government has licensed about 2,00,000 medicinal treatments as public property, i.e. what we do at home as ‘home remedies’ for different health problems, these 2,00,000 treatments can be done by any person with or without modifications in that particular treatment. Generally for cold, Tulsi is an effective remedy as its leaf uses in the form of vapors, juice etc. These are user defined. At the same time, in the case of professional ayurvedic treatments, formulas are prescribed in the ancient scripts which are still following without restrictions. But once these are patented, no one can claim on it. This is what happening in the recent days in the foreign markets. Plenty of medicines have already patented by deceiving the source countries. They spent millions to have the property and the reason is simple; the great availability, cheap cost and negligible side effects.
Considering the total volume of medicinal plant treatments worldwide, about 5000 patents have been already issued to foreign companies and the sad part is, near 2000 patents are from Indian medical system. In India, these treatments are broadly classified as ayurveda, siddha, yunani etc. Ayurveda deals with the traditional medical treatment, siddha which is an oldest treatment of south India and yunani derived from mid east (Greece specially) in the early. By the claim of foreign patents, the order of this classification may change and also it will be a big question mark for the future invention of medicines in India. Chances of legal battles may arise if traditional medical practitioners use medicines with patents who unaware about it.
According to the recent report made by Telegram, In Europe, one company had patented a medicine made of Brahmi plant which is very familiar to all those who close to traditional medications. It uses in many medicines mainly as memory booster. In the same manner medicines made of turmeric, neems are also patented and it led to a legal battle took near 10 years in the court and spent near $5 million. This shows how much important it is for us. This is just about three plants and the number will increase further if the precautions taking are late.
In Middle East and West, the new phase of treatments is including Yoga as one. It already took a position in country’s economy due to uncontrollable demand and growth. That made a chance for them to think to make Yoga in business level. In India, it is found that near 1500 Asanas (posture in Yoga) are using without restrictions and claims. So this also should be a prior preparation for India to protect it from complications of patents. In case there is a move by foreign companies to have patents on Yoga behalf of medicinal treatments, India will not have any choice to claim on any of the property in the traditional medical system. So opening the eyes to stop this as soon as possible and claiming it for our nation is very necessary and important.