South East Asia is a group of 10 nations with 500 million people. It is an economic growth haven in the current global climate. Pharma IP battles have tended to be around the area of seeking better IP protection from governments. Thailand's has well known issues over access to medicine and compulsory licensing. Counterfeiting is a common pharma industry concern, so too is data exclusivity at Health Ministries.
IP Komodo has noticed a recent change in pharma emphasis which is confirmed now in media reports. The Philippines Daily Inquirer reported last weekend that the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) found that the pharma industry’s 2011 recovery was driven largely by generic medicines.
With many products falling out of patent protection generic medicines are driving pharma industry growth in South East Asia. This is aided by constant pressures on containment initiatives by both the private public sectors. The industry itself is no longer split between generics and innovators, with most major household pharma names having generics arms.
IP Komodo predicts that one future SE Asia pharma IP issue will be battles between major pharma companies, with one side's generics arm seeking to launch a product and another pharma company seeking to defend its patents. It is likely that some innovator companies' past patent strategies will be found wanting, as patent families ranging from the molecule through to a final composition may not always have been fully filed in SE Asia. Litigation is inevitable, and major markets like Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam could see some interesting court battles.