[Ip-health] Reuters: U.S. industry body says India agreed to not issue 'compulsory' drug licences
tahir at i-mak.org
Tue Mar 8 08:25:35 PST 2016
If true, how does this now work vis VLs. Are VL's still complementary?
On 8 March 2016 at 09:14, Andrew S. Goldman <andrew.goldman at keionline.org>
> U.S. industry body says India agreed to not issue 'compulsory' drug
> MUMBAI | BY ZEBA SIDDIQUI
> India has given private assurances that it will not grant licences allowing
> local firms to override patents and make cheap copies of drugs by big
> Western drugmakers, a U.S. business advocacy group said.
> The comments were revealed in a submission last month by the U.S.-India
> Business Council (USIBC) to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), which is
> reviewing global intellectual property laws for an annual report
> identifying trade barriers to U.S. companies.
> The USTR has placed India on its "priority watch" list for two years in a
> row saying the country's patent laws unfairly favour local drug makers. A
> bone of contention has been a legal provision that allows the overriding of
> patents on original drugs and granting of 'compulsory licences' to local
> firms to make cheaper copycat medicines.
> India can grant such licences under certain conditions, such as public
> health emergencies, to ensure access to affordable medicines for its mostly
> poor people. It granted the first such licence in 2012, allowing local firm
> Natco Ltd to sell a copy of German drugmaker Bayer's cancer medicine
> Nexavar at a tenth of the price.
> Since that ruling, big Western pharmaceutical companies have criticised
> India's patent law and lobbied for it to be changed.
> In its submission to the USTR, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, the
> USIBC said the government "privately reassured" the group that it would not
> grant such licences to firms for commercial purposes.
> The government has made no such statements publicly. Officials have said
> they are committed to protecting the interests of patients.
> Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, her joint secretary in charge of
> pharmaceuticals, and the USIBC did not respond to requests for comment.
> Washington-based non-profit Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) expressed
> concern over the USIBC submission.
> "If such an agreement in fact exists, this is extremely troubling news ...
> this sort of pressure is basically a declaration of war on poor cancer
> patients," KEI said in its own submission to the USTR last week. It called
> for details of the agreement to be made public.
> Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has been undertaking a review of
> its intellectual property (IP) policy. A revised policy is due to be
> released imminently.
> Several health activists and charities like Medecins Sans Frontieres have
> criticised the review, saying India is buckling under U.S. pressure and
> compromising the interests of patients.
> The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Pharmaceutical Research and
> Manufacturers of America, the biggest U.S. industry lobby group, have both
> recommended keeping India on the U.S. "priority watch" list in separate
> submissions to the USTR.
> The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, which represents 20 big drug makers,
> argued in its own submission that India's patent laws were fully
> WTO-compliant. Its head chided the USIBC for breaching confidence in its
> "If the government of India had said something privately, USIBC should not
> have embarrassed it by making it public," said Secretary General D.G. Shah.
> (Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui)
> Andrew S. Goldman
> Counsel, Policy and Legal Affairs
> Knowledge Ecology International
> andrew.goldman at keionline.org // www.twitter.com/ASG_KEI
> tel.: +1.202.332.2670
> Ip-health mailing list
> Ip-health at lists.keionline.org
Co-Founder and Director of Intellectual Property
Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK)
*Email:* tahir at i-mak.org
*Tel:* +1 917 455 6601/+44 771 853 9472
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