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Policy Matters

Database helped thwart UK patent bid

NEW DELHI (TNN): Countering the patent claims of British pharmaceutical company on using ginger for the treatment of cough and cold, the department of AYUSH and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) intervened and provided evidence from age-old ayurveda and unani books, dating back to the 18th century that talked about ginger and kutki being used alone or in combination with other ingredients to treat cough, bronchial asthma and lung diseases.

The books that were referred to as evidence by CSIR included Ilaaj-al-Amraaz (18th century), Bhaisajya Ratnavali and Bharata Bhaisajya Ratnakara (1000 BC), Bayaaz-e-Kabir (1938 AD), Muheet-e-Azam (19th century) and Khazaain-al-Advia from the 20th century.

“India through the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) submitted its prior art evidences on April 25, 2011. The examiner terminated the patent application before grant,” a health ministry official said. Till about 10 years ago, around 2,000 wrong patents concerning indigenous systems of medicine were being granted annually at the international level due to lack of evidence provided by India. The digital library has been a real boon for India. More than 2.26 lakh rare medical formulations which were part of the ancient Indian texts have been dug out, transcribed, documented and digitized into the path-breaking TKDL to protect them from bio-pirates.

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