[Ip-health] News: Hindustan Times- Patent law pits MNCs against local drug firms

Terri - Louise Beswick Terri at haiweb.org
Mon Aug 23 03:49:54 PDT 2010

Patent law pits MNCs against local drug firms

HT Correspondent
p=Story> , Hindustan Times
Email Author
<mailto:letters at hindustantimes.com?Subject=Patent%20law%20pits%20MNCs%20
New Delhi, August 22, 2010


The government is examining a set of proposals by global drug
manufacturers seeking changes in India's intellectual property rights
(IPR) laws to reward innovation, triggering howls of protest from
domestic pharmaceutical companies who said it would keep prices of many
critical medicines perpetually



Global drug manufacturers represented by the Organisation of
Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) have sought 'legislative
review' of the section 3(d) of the Indian patents Act and a redefining
of the 'efficacy criteria'.


Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act restricts grant of patent for
"incremental innovations," in many drugs unless it provides significant
therapeutic advantages to existing molecules.


Several patent claims of global drug manufacturers have been rejected on
grounds of this provision. Domestic drug manufacturers said the OPPI
proposals would mean drugs would remain patented till perpetuity and
prices of many medicines would remain high.


It would prevent the launch of cheaper generic versions of a medicine
whose original patent may have expired. The PMO has held a meeting with
top executives representing global drug majors in May.


Generic drug refers to a cheaper copy of an original product whose
patent has expired.


"The proposal moved by the PMO, if implemented, would destabilise the
IPR regime by reversing.  It has grave implications, not just for the
domestic pharmaceutical industry but for the country as a whole," said
D.G. Shah, a general secretary at Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA),
an association of domestic pharmaceutical companies.


"It would seriously compromise availability and access to affordable


The impact would be felt across the developing and the least developed
countries as they are all dependent on India for their requirements of
quality medicines at affordable prices," Shah said.


In the meeting with the PMO, it was agreed that OPPI will prepare the
note on these proposals.


"Give the national industry a chance to prove their capability in R&D
before succumbing to the pressures of the MNCs," Shah said.



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