[Ip-health] developments on US pressure

leena menghaney leenamenghaney at gmail.com
Tue Feb 3 20:24:01 PST 2015

Michael Froman testified in a Congressional hearing on  27 January 2015
that the USTR has secured "commitments from India in the 2014 Trade Policy
Forum on a broad range of IP issues of concerns to the United States and
its stakeholders."

US officials are demanding of the new government that they do something
about the following to protect the investments and interests of US pharma

Sec 3(d), basically India's patentability criteria; freeze any moves on
compulsory licensing which reduce the price of expensively priced patent
medicines by allowing a competitor to sell the product; introduce data
exclusivity that bars the drug regulatory authority from approving of a
competitor's product as long as exclusivity on data lasts; provide patent
linkage which connects regulatory approvals to patent status which can not
only undermine the bolar provision, and compulsory licensing in the patent
law, but also make the Indian drug regulator the new patent police; and IP
enforcement by the Indian courts who treat medicines differently and can
deny injunctions demanded by MNCs.

While bringing in amendments to the Indian patent Act or interfering with
the judiciary is not something the govt can do without attracting
attention, but introducing new IP rules into the regulatory system and
putting a moratorium on CLs in DIPP is something strongly rumoured to have
been agreed to by a senior DIPP official and PM's Office.

India civil society in a statement last week seemed to confirm what Froman
said about securing commitments from the new Indian govt:

Statement of Indian groups:

Following the Prime Minister Modi's talk at the US-India Business Council
yesterday that "India is ready to accept suggestions made by a joint
working group with the United States on intellectual property rights," (
patient and civil society groups have responded:

"It is now clear that the Indian government is willing to sell the
interests of Indian patients in order to please US based pharmaceutical
companies. If this is the outcome of President Obama's visit then the fears
of Indian patient groups and civil society that this visit would adversely
affect the health of millions are more than realised," said Amit Sengupta,
Convenor, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan.

"There are indications that the Indian government is changing its stand and
taking a favourable view to the US-demand for data exclusivity and patent
linkage. What is most troubling is that this move would only benefit
foreign MNCs, leaving Indian generics in the lurch and risking the health
of millions of patients in the bargain", said Anand Grover, Director,
Lawyers Collective.

Vikas Ahuja of the Delhi Network of Positive People added "Indian generic
medicines are the life-line of millions of patients around the world. US
pharmaceutical companies are threatened by our industry and now the Indian
government also seems to be bending to their will. Access to affordable
generics could be under serious threat if the US companies have their way"

"Acche Din for US companies, Modi is selling out on IPR" says Dinesh Abrol,
Convenor, National Working Group on Patent Laws. "India is abandoning its
well-considered stand that Indian IP policy and laws are TRIPS-compliant
and have been devised to balance the public interest and innovators rights.
It was a grave mistake to agree to discussing intellectual property as part
of a bilateral setup - the US-India Working Group on IP is turning out to
be an instrument for the protection of US companies. It is grossly
troubling that our Indian CEOs were silent when the US government was
pushing its IP practices as best practices for India to follow when they
have already failed to promote genuine innovation in pharmaceuticals in the

"It is bizarre that the Indian government is inviting US inputs on the
draft IPR policy, why don't we just hand it over to the US pharma industry,
the ghost writers behind every US complaint report against India, such as
the USITC or Special 301 reports, to give us their track-changes? The US
will leave no opportunity to dismantle India's pro-health laws and insert
stronger IP barriers that will strangle generic supply. It would be a
death-trap for cancer patients who will be denied affordable treatment into
the forseeable future" commented Kalyani Menon-Sen, Campaign for Affordable

Leena Menghaney
Mobile: 9811365412

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