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Prayank Khandelwal

Patents on Healthcare Products

Authors- Prayank Khandelwal, Amit Koshal

A healthcare product is often defined as a service to research, innovate, procure, sell and deliver better means of health welfare to everyone. They form an indispensable component of health systems in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease and in alleviating disability and functional deficiency. These products aid in enhancement of the quality of life, hence a rise is seen in the innovation and development stream of the healthcare sector.

Inspite of the numerous technological advances, the health care sector is still ailing. The delivery of the treatment is still inefficient and unfriendly for all sectors. On an average, the amount spent on healthcare is almost one fifth of the budget of all the nations. Despite the lavish budget, 50% population of the world lives without health insurance. The number is much higher for many developing and underdeveloped countries.

Public and private sectors spend hundreds and thousands of billion dollars for R&D in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, health services and medical devices. Finding solutions to several diseases like diabetes and cancer, and transmittable viruses like swine flu and the currently havoc wrecking Covid-19, is in itself a very costly affair. Every now and then, new diseases or viruses emanate, and the economy shatters because the results of such a vast investment in this sector are many times a failure. These problems need innovative solutions to overcome them.

Public and private sectors spend hundreds and thousands of billion dollars for R&D in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, health services and medical devices. Finding solutions to several diseases like diabetes and cancer, and transmittable viruses like swine flu and the currently havoc wrecking Covid-19, is in itself a very costly affair. Every now and then, new diseases or viruses emanate, and the economy shatters because the results of such a vast investment in this sector are many times a failure. These problems need innovative solutions to overcome them.

Figure 1: Top 10 innovative countries in the field of medicine

China has always been advanced and has dominated the medical sector. Ancient China has given birth to medical practices such as acupressure which are used till date. More than 75% of new medicinal products are innovated in China alone.

In the medical field, competition exists not only within each technology but also across different technologies. The swine flu vaccine eventually eliminated the need for drugs, devices, and services, initially required to treat the disease. Conversely, the discovery of an effective molecular diagnostic method for a disease such as Tuberculosis would greatly enhance the demand for therapeutic drugs and devices.

The businessman in this field generally work in a reversed way, meaning they look out for patents which will expire in this current business year, rather than those filed that year. This gave rise to the concept of generic medicines i.e. the medicines whose patents had expired.

Figure 2: Top IPC filing classes throughout the world.

Diet food and nutrition products are the most popular topics of research. Whereas, the least researched is the immunostimulants stream (medicines providing immunization). 

As we all have developed a tendency to shun things until the very last moment, a similar treatment is observed with the immunization class. We wait and let the disease or virus come into effect, and only then we start finding its vaccine. Such imprudent behaviour has brought us to the dire situation we are facing today due to COVID – 19. This virus, having been discovered years earlier, had the luxury of time to explore for a vaccine.

Medical Diagnostics and Cure Technology:

Medicine and Technology have been holding hands for many years now and their bond is increasing. Currently, the innovation rate projects vast advancements in the medical diagnostic field. For example, there is a significant improvement in cancer detection field. Now the cancer can be detected at early stages, well in advance and hence, increasing the chances of curing it. Ultrasound technology has helped the doctors to endoscopically assess the pancreas, gallbladder, oesophagus, stomach and even lungs, in order to detect the presence of tumours and stage cancers. The new and development CT scanning technique is faster and takes only 15 seconds now. The biopsy treatment has become less painful for patients.

Figure 3: Top 5 companies working in the field of medical diagnosis

The Samsung Group leads in the health diagnosis sector followed by Fujifilm, General Electric and Toshiba.

Some of the latest inventions that had revolutionized the medical diagnosis and cure technology:

Smart Inhalers:

Inhalers are a must for an asthma patients. But almost 50% of the patients are unable to use it properly. This problem has been overcome by making Bluetooth-enabled smart inhalers and pairing them with the patients mobile phones. The mobile then records the dosage date and time of the inhaler and alerts the user accordingly.

3-D printing and Artificial Organs:

3-D printer has become one of the hottest technologies now. Bio printing is another notch of the 3-D printing. They are used to create implants and joints for surgical purposes. The use is increasing because of the precision they offer, and they can print pills that contain multiple drug. Now scientist can create synthetic ovaries and pancreas as well. The artificial organs slowly grow in patients’ body and replace original ones. The technology when developed more will decrease the need of risky implant operations.

Health Wearables: 

Health wearable devices have been developed after the invention of Bluetooth devices. Earlier people used mobile phones to monitor heartbeat, sleeping pattern, calories burned, footsteps. Nowadays, people prefer using smart watches for the same. In 2018, Apple released the Apple Series Watch 4 that had an integrated ECG to monitor wearer’s heart rhythm. The market is predicted to reach $70 billion by 2024. Bio sensors also form a part of this emerging industry.

Precision Medicine:

The technologies and medicines are becoming more and more personalised, making personalization a new trend in the medical field. Precision medicine allows doctors to select medicine and therapies to treat diseases based on an individual’s genetic composition. This type of medicine is far more effective than other traditional treatments. 

Virtual Reality: 

The major use of virtual reality is in the field of medical education and practices. The use of this technology has helped several students for educating about the human anatomy in depth and more clearly. The VR devices also help patients with diagnosis, treatment plans and the procedures they will be facing during treatment. 

Telehealth: 

People generally prefer digitally led services. Telehealth allows patients to receive medical care through digital technology instead of face-to-face appointments. . Indian Startup Docsapp, has revolutionised the telehealth sector filing multiple patents on their mobile application. The current example is the Aarogya setu app which monitors and individual’s health situation based on the user response to the chat bot. 

CRISPR

Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is an extremely advanced technique which helps edit genetic material. By using this technique, Cancer and HIV can be eradicated from the world in the coming years. Only the affected DNA are cured or removed in this technique.

Active Bionics Prosthesis

Prosthetic limbs are now functioning items. Technology can replicate the movement and use of the prosthesis organs. The involved sensors and microprocessors can be controlled by the person using their phone to ensure natural functioning. The concept of ‘cyborg’ from a sci -fi movie is not a too far stretched idea anymore.

Robotic Surgeries:

Although this technology has reduced the doctor’s role a bit, the precision offered is much better in this case. During this surgery, surgeons can perform extremely complex procedures, that in other case are difficult to be done. 

Laser Surgeries:

Laser Technology has reduced the operation time for the doctors and has also made the procedure simpler. LASER allows accurate focus on very small areas of body. For example, during corrective eye surgeries, cataract cure or removal of precancerous lesions. The operation duration has been reduced to 90%. Cataract laser treatment now only takes 15 minutes! Thanks to LASIK technology.

It is time for innovators to revolutionize the healthcare system and improve the existing solutions to fit every human’s need. Don’t let this lock down, lock your innovation, make the lock down work for your business!

For any legal advice regarding your business, please reach out to us on- photon.ip@photonlegal.com 

Stay in, Stay safe and continue to work

cover image source siam trade development.

About: Prayank Khandelwal

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