[Ip-health] Correspondence between Pfizer and Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance over pharma innovation policy disputes

Michael Palmedo mpalmedo at wcl.american.edu
Mon Aug 26 10:56:02 PDT 2013



SpicyIP Tidbit: IPA continues communication with Pfizer over pharma
innovation policy disputes 


Spicy IP, August 26

Swaraj Paul Barooah 


Readers may remember the posts we did on Pfizer's testimony before the
US House of Representatives and the ensuing series of correspondence
regarding it. (See here, here and here). While that was part of the
larger issue of US putting pressure on India to change its pharma patent
policies, it has been useful in that the exchange of communication has
resulted in an actual articulation of reasons behind allegations, rather
than mere unilateral claims and allegations (eg: The Special 301 Report)
that have otherwise been present. I believe this is useful (despite the
hostility seen in some of the letters), as articulating these claims
requires putting forward facts, rather than moving forward on
assumptions and rhetoric. And regardless of which 'side' one may be on,
getting the facts straight is the first step to fact-based policy
making. By the same token, understanding that the 'facts' are not as
straightforward as a party may claim is similarly as important, in order
to ensure that questionable assumptions don't form the basis of 'fact'
based policy. 


As mentioned in one of those earlier posts, Pfizer had responded to
Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance's (IPA) criticism on May 23rd with their
5 page letter here. Last week, on 19th August, the IPA responded with an
8 page letter of their own. We have made the letter available here. 


The letter discusses several points that Pfizer had alleged and provides
counters to them. In particular, it discusses whether there is
discrimination against US companies, India's "hostile" innovation and
investment environment, Section 3(d) and compulsory licenses. It also
referred to US' own patent system, problems that they are facing and
actions that they are still taking to improve their patent system - thus
calling into question any 'absolute truth' about any system that Pfizer
sought to contrast India's patent system against. Strangely though, the
letter seems to end abruptly while discussing the recent USITC veto of
the ban against Apple imports when it certainly could've pointed out the
double standards that such a move follows. I'm also a little confused by
what seems to be a concession of sorts towards the end of the letter
stating that US is the knowledge industry leader of the world and that
its IP legislation is arguabley the highest standard of the world. 


In any case though, what could've ended up as a unilateral allegation of
questionable substance before the US House of Representatives, has
instead been used by the IPA to create a platform for voicing an
alternative view. If nothing else, this helps further the debate for the
number of parties watching this dispute.



Mike Palmedo

Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property

American University Washington College of Law

4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20016

W: 202-274-4442 | M: 571-289-3683

wcl.american.edu | infojustice.org | pijip-impact.org


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