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PATNEWS: India government council challenging US drug patent
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- Date: Thu, 1 Aug 1996 15:22:03 -0400 (EDT)
>From Gregory Aharonian's excellant PATENT-NEWS. jl
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Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 21:12:08 -0400
From: Gregory Aharonian <email@example.com>
Subject: PATNEWS: India government council challenging US drug patent
!19960724 India government council challenging US drug patent
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research of India has filed
a reexamination request with the US Patent and Trademark Office, asking them
to revoke a patent issued to the University of Mississippi. The patent,
5,401,504, claims the use of turmeric for promoting wound healing. The
Indian government is arguing that turmeric is a well known traditional
medicine used in India, and even written about by Indian researchers as far
back as the 1950s. Basic patent info is at the end.
The request is seen as a test case for challenging other patents based on
traditional-plant based medicines, which developing countries argue shouldn't
be patented. This can be a double-edged sword, as it could discourage drug
companies from developing more important plant-based drugs. A crucial case
in point is that of malaria. About 2.7 million African people die each year
due to malaria, and global health experts are getting worried that the
figure could rise to 7 million deaths a year in Africa and Asia. This is
because the malaria parasite is becoming resistant to quinine when used to
fight cerebral malaria.
There is however a plant based drug, artemether, derived from the shrub
wormwood, which has been shown to be as effective as quinine. Unfortunately
it's current cost is twice as much as for quinine, which in Africa and Asia
makes it too costly for many people to buy. Yet drug companies are reluctant
to invest much because the use of artemether has already been described in
the scientific literature. The current hopes are that drugs related to
artemether can be found that could be patented, yet sold at a more reasonable
These issues of drug rights, profit levels and developing country needs
will continue to be thrashed out in public and the courts.
Internet Patent News Service
P.O. Box 404, Belmont, MA, 02178
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Title Use of turmeric in wound healing
Assignee University of Mississippi Medical Center (Jackson, MS).
Filed Dec. 28, 1993
Method of promoting healing of a wound by administering turmeric to a
patient afflicted with the wound.
6 Claims, No Drawings
Intl. Cl. A61K 35/78
U.S. Cl. 424/195.1; 514/925; 514/926; 514/927; 514/928
U.S. Patent Documents
4,719,111 Jan. 1988 Wilson 424/195.1
5,120,538 Jun. 1992 Oei 424/195.1
5,252,344 Oct. 1993 Shi 424/682
Institute GA. 99: 218620T (1983) of JPN. 58-162520 (Ulcer
Inhibitor Tablets Effective in Mice Contain Carcinogen).
Soma et al GA. 116: 221612S (1992) of JPN 4-49240 (Digestive Tract
Ulcers Treated with Curcuma longa (Turmeric) Extract
Kumar et al GA.119: 871K (1993) of Ind. Vet. J. 70(1):42-4 (1993).
Abstracts of Charles et al Trop. Geogr. Med: 44(1-2) 178-181 Jan.
1992; Rafatullah et al J. Ethnopharmacol. 29(1): 25-34 Apr. 1990;
Kutton et al Tumori 73(1): 29-31 Feb. 28, 1987; Mehra et al. Tokai
J Etpharm Med 9(1): 27-31 Mar. 1984.