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Situation Analysis - Dr. Narendra's Dilemma - Indian Medical College

Essay by   •  August 23, 2013  •  Case Study  •  1,157 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,579 Views

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SITUATION ANALYSIS

Indian Medical College (IMC) was established with the objective of imparting education in Siddha, providing medical care, and researching, developing, promoting and propagating, the science of Siddha hereinafter called the mandate. India currently houses seven institutions that impart education in Siddha, six of which including IMC, are confined to Tamil Nadu. Geographic concentration aside, other challenges encountered in the global acceptance of Siddha include lack of availability and visibility of reliable and validated commercial products. And hence arises the need for IMC to commercialize Dr. Ramkumar's newly developed cost-effective herbo-mineral remedy for coronary atherosclerosis.

The promotion and propagation aspect of the mandate has not been entirely catered to by the traditional way of information sharing through journal publications. Sharing research through publications should not restrict IMC from using its original formulation on its patients but it will also not directly involve IMC in promotion of Siddha. Advances in other forms of medicine can be attributed to drug research financed through commercialization of research products protected by patents. Since research activities at IMC, have started only in 2008, and must be relatively nascent, many new proposals similar to that proposed by Dr. Ramkumar can be expected from the faculty over the coming years. Moreover, to obtain future research grants from the government, in addition to Rs. 30 lakhs received in 2010, substantiated results can be helpful. Hence, to keep pace with the world, to maintain the source of funds, to reaffirm the mandate and to motivate faculty members towards research, IMC has to develop capabilities in ensuring intellectual property protection early.

Since its inception, IMC has grown significantly in providing medical care and caters to more than 1100 patients per day. It also addresses ad hoc, need-based, medical requirements which have been as high as catering to 6000 patients spread over six months. The inventory of 120 beds historically faced a high demand characterized by a 100% occupancy rate. To meet growing demand and to further the medical care mandate, IMC can make use of additional funds generated through commercialization of Dr. Ramkumar's formulation.

As is prevalent in more established forms of medicine, research institutes accomplish manufacturing and marketing processes by leveraging third parties who in turn pay institutes either a lump sum amount upfront or annual royalties based on sales. Since IMC currently lacks marketing capabilities, it should only attempt to follow the prevalent approach.

However, attributed to the secrecy maintained by Dr. Ramkumar, in the absence of clarity on whether the formulation was developed at IMC, whether a similar invention already exists and whether animal toxicity studies, as required by law, were conducted given the experimental rather than observational nature of the formulation, Dr. Narendran should seek legal advice to fairly evaluate the feasibility of patenting the formulation, as opposed to blindly accepting the 90% chance of patenting as claimed by Dr. Ramkumar.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

How should IMC react to Dr. Ramkumar's request to make the best use, and protect the intellectual property, of his new formulation?

OPTIONS

1. Ignore Dr. Ramkumar's request.

2. Apply for patent and sell the patent to a third party for a one-time fee.

3. Apply for patent and license out the patent to a third party for annual royalties.

CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION

The criteria for evaluation in order of decreasing priority are as follows:

1. Fulfilment of IMC's mandate

2. Generate motivation for research amongst faculty

3. Profitability

EVALUATION OF OPTIONS

Ignore Dr. Ramkumar's request.

 This option focuses on maintaining the status quo. IMC may be able to retain the right to practice the formulation on its patients through publications but won't make any significant contributions to promotion of Siddha medicine.

 Absence of intellectual property protection and commercialization capabilities will continue to act as barriers to research. Moreover, IMC would be unable to incentivize its faculty to keep them motivated in the long run.

 There is no added monetary benefit or cost to this option.

Apply for patent

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