[Ip-health] Group writes to SC, HC CJs against US patent body Rema Nagarajan, TNN | Nov 16, 2014, 04.38 AM IST

K.M. Gopakumar kumargopakm at gmail.com
Sun Nov 16 18:54:55 PST 2014

Group writes to SC, HC CJs against US patent bodyRema Nagarajan,TNN | Nov
16, 2014, 04.38 AM ISTNEW DELHI: The Campaign for Affordable Transtuzumab,
a group of individuals and organisations fighting to increase access to
medicines, has written to the chief justices of the Supreme Court and Delhi
high court and to the chairperson of the Intellectual Property Appellate
Board (IPAB) expressing grave concern over the meetings scheduled by the US
lobby group Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPOA) with IPAB, a
quasi-judicial body, the Delhi HC and the offices of the Controller of
Patents. The IPOA agenda even includes a scheduled visit to the Supreme
Court. "The intent of these meetings is clear - they are blatant attempts
to influence the judicial outcomes in cases relating to drug patent
disputes that are currently before the courts," pointed out the letter.

The letter urged the justices to cancel any meeting scheduled with the IPOA
delegation as the IPOA event providing privileged access of an IP lobby
group to the highest levels of the judiciary and key quasi-judicial bodies
like the IPAB involved a serious conflict of interest that could cast a
dark shadow on the neutrality of the judiciary.

The campaign members dismissed the claim that these meetings were being
organised to "share experiences and perspectives on intellectual property
and practice with patent practitioners and the judiciary of India" calling
it a "shameless ruse". "The intent is clearly to create an opportunity for
multinational pharmaceutical companies to lobby on contentious issues that
are taking center stage in the struggle over the interpretation of India's
medicines patent law," said the letter.

It added that the campaign was closely following the misuse of patent
rights and more recently the vexatious litigation of the Swiss
pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd in India to maintain control
over the market for the life-saving breast cancer drug Trastuzumab, thus
blocking access to treatment for many women diagnosed and suffering from a
certain kind of breast cancer (HER2+) for which this drug was very

"Our courts are in the forefront of the move to hold public institutions to
account for any breach of ethics and propriety. The recent step taken by
the Supreme Court to scrutinise the visitors' book of the Director of
Central Bureau of Investigation is a clear message in this regard, with
serious note being taken of the alleged visits of individuals directly or
indirectly linked to ongoing CBI investigations. We believe that the
independence of the judiciary is central to its role in protecting the
right to life and health guaranteed to us by our Constitution," stated the

The IPOA delegation comprises representatives of pharma MNCs with interests
in India and the law firms that represent them in patent disputes before
the IPAB and Indian courts. Members of the IPOA (notably Bristol-Myers
Squibb, Roche, Pfizer and Merck) have cases and appeals pending before the
IPAB and the Delhi High Court. "The stated aim of the IPOA is to promote
the case of its member entities, and, is thus no more than a lobbying
organization set up by corporate interests to promote their restricted view
of intellectual property. It is disquieting that this lobbying organization
is seeking to meet members of the judiciary in India which is hearing
currently pending matters in which IPOA members are plaintiffs," stated the

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