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  • Essay
    • This Quote Means | John F Kennedy: “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”
  • Fact File
  • Secondary patent for Johnson & Johnson TB drug rejected: How this will help in India’s fight against tuberculosis

This Quote Means | John F Kennedy: “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”

Essay [UPSC – 2022]


Throughout history, ancient texts and philosophers have recommended that people prepare for inevitable downturns while enjoying the present upturn because nothing lasts forever, whether it be good times or bad. This advice was echoed by Christine Lagarde, the former managing director of the IMF and current president of the European Central Bank, who quoted President John F Kennedy's statement, "the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining," during her 2017 speech at Harvard University.


Kennedy, who became the youngest US president at 43 years old during the height of the Cold War, is renowned for his energetic leadership and vision for modernizing the country's technology before his tragic assassination in 1963.


Full Quote

  • During his annual State of the Union Address in 1962, President Kennedy outlined his plans for bolstering the American economy. He highlighted measures to promote growth and job creation, but also cautioned about the need to prepare for future economic downturns.
  • He stated “Moreover — pleasant as it may be to bask in the warmth of recovery — let us not forget that we have suffered three recessions in the last seven years. The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining by filling three basic gaps in our anti-recession protection”.


Meaning of the quote

  • The quote emphasizes the importance of taking action at the right time to prevent the worst possible outcomes during a crisis.
  • It implies that enjoying the good times should not lead to complacency, but rather an opportunity to make necessary reforms and preparations for tough times ahead.
  • This principle appears to have originated from an old Japanese proverb, "When you’re dying of thirst, it’s too late to think about digging a well," which emphasizes the value of being prepared in advance for emergencies.
  • In his speech, Kennedy cautioned against being content with the "warmth of recovery" and urged for timely action to address potential economic downturns.
  • He demonstrated this attitude during his presidency by taking decisive measures for the future, such as increasing funding for NASA during the space race against the Soviet Union.
  • Kennedy famously stated, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard," emphasizing the need to take on difficult challenges with determination.


Significance in contemporary world

  • The quote can be used to advocate for timely action in various situations, including the need for preparedness in life.
  • One specific application is in the context of climate change, where taking action now can help avoid the worst consequences in the future. The IPCC's 2022 report stresses the importance of stronger action in the near term to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels.
  • Another example is planning for retirement, where investing in government schemes like NPS and PPF at a young age can ensure financial security in the future.
  • The underlying message of the quote is that good times should not be taken for granted, and instead, should be used as an opportunity to prepare for tougher times ahead.
  • The quote can also apply to personal finance, where one should save and invest wisely during prosperous times to weather financial difficulties in the future.
  • In a business context, the quote could mean investing in research and development, improving operational efficiency, or diversifying revenue streams during periods of growth to prepare for market downturns.
  • Overall, the quote serves as a reminder to take proactive measures to address potential problems, rather than waiting until it's too late.

[Ref- IE] 

Fact File

Secondary patent for Johnson & Johnson TB drug rejected: How this will help in India’s fight against tuberculosis

  • Johnson and Johnson's TB medication bedaquiline, which is used to treat drug-resistant infections, had its secondary patent rejected by the Indian patent office.
  • This decision was welcomed by experts, health activists, and survivors as it prevented the best drug in its class from being monopolized by the patent for another four years after the primary patent expires in July this year.
  • Generic versions are expected to reduce the cost of the medicine and improve access.


  • At the time of receiving an approval from US Food and Drug Administration in 2012, bedaquiline became the first new TB therapy to become available after a period of 40 years.
  • Bedaquiline is highly effective in treating drug-resistant tuberculosis.
  • It has fewer side effects than existing drugs like Kanamycin.
  • The drug has led to the development of shorter courses of treatment, reducing it from two years to nine months to a one-year course.
  • Bedaquiline is taken orally, unlike Kanamycin or Streptomycin.
  • A shorter-course, all-oral medicine increases the likelihood of people completing their treatment and preventing more cases of drug-resistant TB.

Ever-greening of patents 

  • Ever-greening of patents refers to the practice of making minor modifications to a drug's formulation in order to extend the patent period and maintain the company's monopoly over the drug.

Implications of Bedaquiline's Patent Expiration

  • Generic versions of bedaquiline can be manufactured by companies after July 2023.
  • The availability of the medicine is expected to increase, and prices may drop by up to 80%.
  • Similar significant price drops were seen with a couple of diabetes medicines that came off patent in the last two years.
  • The government may find it cheaper to procure the medicine for the national program, improve access to it in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
  • Private hospitals with good TB centers may also be allowed to use the medicine.

India’s TB goal of 2025

  • India aims to eliminate TB by 2025, five years before the global target.
  • The government is taking steps to increase access to molecular diagnostics and improve nutrition through community engagement.
  • Better treatment options are needed to achieve the goal of eliminating TB.
  • Vaccines for TB are in the pipeline.
  • The most important intervention is to actively find TB cases and ensure they complete treatment.
  • An all-oral shorter course of treatment with bedaquiline is likely to improve adherence.
  • The government is phasing out kanamycin and moving towards an all-oral regimen with bedaquiline.

Global Impact

  • After July, Generic manufacturers in India can supply the medicine at a lower cost to India and other high-burden countries in the world.
  • India is a major manufacturer of global TB medicines, with 80% being produced in the country.
  • The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has offered to help other countries working towards TB elimination.


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