Patenting Homeopathic Medicines

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Because so many homeopathic medicaments have been in use for a very long time, homeopathic medicine suppliers and practitioners don’t always think of patenting new formulations. However, homeopathic formulations are patentable, and effective protection can be secured with a carefully drafted application.

Homeopathic medicaments are approved for use and inclusion in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia by the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention. A large number of medicaments were included in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia because of their successful historical use. However, new formulations are also being approved and added, and these can be patented. Seeking patent protection is important because of the significant research needed to find a particularly effective formulation.

A good patent application for a homeopathic medicament includes a thorough description of the ingredients and their preparation, a listing of the formulation variations and ranges, delivery methods, and examples of successful use and other test results. The medicament should then be claimed to distinguish it from earlier similar formulations.

Homeopathic medicines are often claimed in the form “A medicament comprising a homeopathically potentised form of (the ingredients and doses).” Additional claims are then added specifying various formulations and variations of the ingredients and doses. The ingredients will often appear in the formulations of other homeopathic medicines. The Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia should be consulted to assure that the proposed formulation is not too similar to prior formulations. Most professional patent searchers and patent attorneys don’t have this particular expertise, so a homeopathic practitioner should be consulted.

In addition, a patent search should be performed, focusing on the particular ingredients. This will uncover potentially similar uses of the ingredients in non-homeopathic remedies such as herbal supplements. The claims should be written to distinguish the new medicament from all previous formulations.

After the independent claims are written, a description of the medicament should be drafted. The description should include tables showing examples of formulation variations, ranges of acceptable formulation variations, or both. These tables and ranges can then be used to draft the dependent claims. The variations should include both broad ranges of formulations as well as narrower ranges around well-tested and successful formulations.

The delivery method should also be described. These methods may not be claimed, but it can be useful later on to have mentioned the various internal and topical ways that the medicament could be used.

Finally, the application should include examples of successful outcomes resulting from the use of the formulation or its ingredients. These can include organized studies, successful uses by an individual, and evidence of the efficacy of the ingredients outside of the formulation. The patent office does not evaluate or approve clinical effectiveness, but patent examiners like to see that there is a good reason for patenting the formulation.

By including claims that were drafted with an eye to similar formulations, a good description of variations, mention of delivery methods, and examples of successful use, homeopathic medicaments can be successful protected.

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