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Intellectual Property Rights in the Pharmaceutical Industry


Blog Date
January 17,

In today’s fast-paced world, the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry is one of the evergreen sectors. A person could become unwell at any time or need to take supplement pills, regardless of how solid the economy is or whether it is in a recession. Therefore, it would not be incorrect to state that the pharmaceutical sector is a major driver of medical innovation. 

Intellectual property (IP) in pharmacy is the most valuable resource in a pharmaceutical or biotech company and is crucial to the industry’s future success. IP is an important driver for the secure development of new treatments and pharmaceuticals. Researchers might not be able to investigate new fields of medical innovation without intellectual property protection. They may not make discoveries that will inspire the therapies and cures of the future.

What are intellectual property rights?

The development of new life-saving pharmaceuticals depends on medical advancements and therapies protected by types of IPR (intellectual property rights). Trademarks, a kind of IPR, assist in differentiating and protecting the brand at the company and product levels because the interaction between a consumer and a pharmaceutical product is fully founded on trust. 

For 20 years following the date of application, patents grant pharmaceutical businesses the only right to advertise their products while preventing anyone from buying, making, or selling them. 

IPR is a requirement for pharmaceutical firms to locate, plan, develop, and safeguard inventions. They also create healthy competition, which aids in the economy’s expansion and the industry’s development. Furthermore, these businesses are sufficiently encouraged to spend on R&D thanks to IPRs.

The following table explores which types of IPR need registration.

Types of IPRRegistration
Trade SecretNo
Industrial DesignGenerally recommended, although unregistered designs are also protected.

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Importance of intellectual property rights

Without spending time and money to create new medications, generic drug manufacturers copy biopharmaceutical advances with insufficient intellectual property rights protection. As a result, branded drug manufacturers find it challenging to spend on research and development (R&D) of new therapies and expensive diseases. This is because they cannot recoup investments in new drug development.

A stronger IPR regime helps pharma businesses protect inventions from research to development. Intellectual property creation, management, and protection are increasingly significant funding sources for R&D investments. IPRs are independent commodities that may be exchanged through licensing, joint ventures, etc. They also play a significant part in the mergers and acquisitions of the target SME.

IPR significantly impacts the pharmaceutical business on various levels, including drug discovery, development, pricing, distribution, competitive mapping, and the availability and cost of new medications. Pharma businesses are expanding quickly due to increased IPR protection in industrialized nations. On the other hand, developing nations criticize the patent system since it leads to monopolies in the market and higher drug prices.

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What role does IPR play in protecting the pharmaceutical industry?

The pharmaceutical business places the biggest value on intellectual property because it is necessary for the continuous development of new medications, as explained in the points below.

  1. Protecting medical invention

Once a person or business has created a novel drug or medical procedure, they must either file a patent application for it or keep it a trade secret to protect it. A patent provides far more robust protection because a drug cannot be reverse-engineered, as in the case of trade secrets, which could result in the innovation being stolen.

  1. Drives economic growth 

By granting the sole intellectual property rights to a medication or therapy creator, intellectual property helps pharmaceutical companies experience considerable economic growth. This is because the inventor is the exclusive owner of the invention’s marketing rights, with the ability to sell or license it.

  1. Consumer protection

The public’s safety is the primary concern of intellectual property in the pharmaceutical sector since it enables customers to make informed decisions when choosing medical products. Intellectual property rights ensure a standard by guaranteeing quality, which builds a dependable and efficient public health infrastructure.

  1. Incentives for global solutions

Innovation promotion is crucial, but finance is also required to make it happen. Intellectual property rights in the pharmaceutical sector encourage the development of medicines and vaccines for new diseases constantly being found. They also offer incentives for developing novel concepts into potential new medicines.

  1. Protection from potential infringers

Pharmaceutical companies can take tough action against fake pharmaceuticals thanks to intellectual property rights. Without these rights, nations worldwide would struggle to guarantee the security of their medical inventions.

ALSO READ: Career options after MBA Pharmaceutical Management

Future of the Indian pharmaceutical industry 

The Indian pharmaceutical industry plays a significant role globally. India has the highest count of US FDA-compliant Pharmacy plants outside of the USA. 500 API manufacturers are contributing about 8% of the global API Industry. India contributes a 20% share in the global supply of generic medicines by manufacturing 60,000 brands across 60 therapeutic categories. Access to affordable HIV treatment in India helps many globally. 

India is one of the biggest suppliers of low-cost vaccines in the world. Due to their low price and high quality, Indian medicines are preferred worldwide, rightly making India the “future pharmacy of the world”.

Many multinational firms have reduced the number of out-of-date or discontinued items in their portfolios due to the lack of product patent protection for pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. Additionally, local companies adopting reverse engineering techniques to create the most cutting-edge pharmaceuticals have lost market share.

Pharmaceutical companies should have a successful intellectual property strategy to maximize investment returns while preserving strong patent protection. Drug research needs to encourage innovation, and intellectual property rights (IPR) in pharmacy may be able to help you achieve a business’ goal of having a competitive advantage. This is why the scope of the Indian pharmaceutical industry is excellent.


IP in Pharmacy needs to include product development ideally. Companies can avoid legal disputes that might result in a financial loss by concentrating on their IP strategy. They can also profit from IP-related items through licensing and marketing. As a result, demand for cheap pharmaceutical products rises, and pharmaceutical businesses see fast expansion.

If you would like to learn Intellectual Property Rights in Pharmaceutical industry, enroll in online MBA in Pharmaceutical Management at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE). Offered in Online Manipal, this online MBA program is designed for professionals with at least one year of experience. Enroll now!

Key Takeaways:

  • Intellectual property (IP) is the most valuable resource in a pharmaceutical or biotech company.
  • Pharma businesses get help in protecting inventions from the research to development stage through a stronger IPR regime.
  • Various roles IPR plays in protecting the pharmaceutical industry: protection against infringers, driving economic growth, and consumer protection.


Information related to companies and external organizations is based on secondary research or the opinion of individual authors and must not be interpreted as the official information shared by the concerned organization.

Additionally, information like fee, eligibility, scholarships, finance options etc. on offerings and programs listed on Online Manipal may change as per the discretion of respective universities so please refer to the respective program page for latest information. Any information provided in blogs is not binding and cannot be taken as final.

  • TAGS
  • online degree
  • Online MBA for working professionals
  • Pharmaceutical Management

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