[Ip-health] Economic Times: Foreign drug makers urge government to review IPR think tank

Shailly Gupta shailly.gupta at geneva.msf.org
Mon Nov 17 20:17:24 PST 2014



NEW DELHI:  <http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Foreign-drug-makers>
Foreign drug makers are urging the government to review the membership of a
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/think-tank> think tank it has set
up to formulate
intellectual property rights (IPR) policy in the next few months, saying
that it lacks representation from innovator firms and needs to be more
balanced. Their Indian rivals counter that by saying the panel is supposed
to draw up a <http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/framework> framework
that would be in the country's best interests. 

"At the least, we could have expected this body to include a representative
from the research-driven industry or an IP owner that has some skin in the
game!" the
of-India> Organisation of Pharma Producers of India (OPPI) has written to
the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. "We ask DIPP to please
review the constitution of this think-tank and allow the inclusion of some
members that could bring more balance to the discussion." 

OPPI's members are mostly pharmaceutical companies from the US and Europe.
"We have written to the government seeking more balance in the membership of
the panel," OPPI director general Ranjana Smetacek confirmed to ET. 

The panel set up by DIPP last month is headed by former Intellectual
Property Appellate Board chairperson Prabha Sridevan and includes lawyers
Pratibha M Singh and Punita Bhargava, apart from Unnat Pandit of Cadila
Pharmaceuticals, Asian School of Business director Rajeev Srinivasan and
Narendra K Sabarwal, retired deputy director general, World Intellectual
Property Organization. 

A similar point has also been raised by the US pharmaceutical and biotech
groupings- PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) and
BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization)--in their submissions to the US
Trade Representative's office. USTR Michael Froman is scheduled to visit
India later this month and will meet Nirmala Sitharaman, minister of
commerce and industry, during his trip. 

Indian drug makers said the government shouldn't be swayed by such demands. 

"This is a national policy that India is framing. Foreign companies can send
their inputs to the think tank if they want to be heard. For that they don't
need to be part of the core group," said DG Shah, secretary general, Indian
Pharma Alliance, a grouping of leading domestic manufacturers. 

In its submission to the USTR, PhRMA favoured the development of a
comprehensive  <http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/IPR> IPR policy in
India. It complained that the process has lacked transparency and
opportunity for meaningful stakeholder input, particularly IP holders. 

"Justice Prabha Sridevan, former chairperson of Indian Intellectual
Appellate Board (IPAB), is chairing the think tank and she has a rather
broad mandate, according to the terms of reference," said Lila Feisee, vice
president, international affairs, BIO, in her submission to the USTR. "Ms.
Sridevan has been outspoken in her defence of her interpretation of Indian
patent law, which has generally favored local generic industry." 

Shah defended Sridevan. "Questioning the bona fide of a quasi-judicial
entity in such a manner is totally unfair. She has delivered some of the
finest judgements, including on the compulsory licence of cancer drug
Nexavar," he said. 

As IPAB chairperson, Sridevan had upheld the grant of India's first
compulsory licence (CL) for Bayer's cancer drug Nexavar, but had struck down
one of the three grounds that had been cited. In her judgement of March
2013, she said that the patent controller had erred in concluding that a
multinational will have to manufacture its drug locally to meet the
"working" requirement and avoid a CL. This clause had been cited by many
innovator drug firms as 'troubling'.



Shailly Gupta

MSF Access Campaign (India)

K-30, Jangpura Extension

New Delhi - 14




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