MALAYSIA should be part of the Patent Corporation Treaty, to ensure the country profits from its new patents.
The suggestion came from Lim Kee Moi (BN Yong Peng) during the debate on the state Budget 2006 at the Johor State Assembly recently.
Although 123 other countries have become members of this corporation, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand have yet to join, she said.
This is a great waste as the Federal Government has allocated RM30mil to set up a Bioproduct Validation Centre in Johor Baru.
If we dont have the patents for our products, it will be easy for foreigners to copy them without our permission, she said.
Lim added that if Malaysia owned the patents, it would have the monopoly rights for the subsequent 20 years.
We would also be able to earn royalty for these products, she said.
According to Lim, it takes about 12 years and a cost of US$800mil (RM3bil) to introduce a new medicine in the market, with 70% of the funds spent on clinical trials.
It is humiliating that at the moment the United States is the main distributor of products made from Tongkat Ali even though the plant comes from our country, she said.
Lim also questioned why applications for patents were currently made through Singapore, which was not an agriculture-based nation.
Jamilah Endan (BN Kukup) suggested that the Health Ministry ensure that the Sultanah Aminah Hospital was fully equipped with an oncology unit.
Our general hospital is very large and caters to many patients.
We would like it to be as well-equipped as the hospitals in Kuala Lumpur and that includes having our own resident oncologist, she said.
She added that at times patients have to go all the way to Kuala Lumpur to seek treatment just to avoid waiting for the visiting oncologists to come to Johor.
This cause money and takes up a lot of time. It is also a burden to the patients family, she said.