[Ip-health] Sign-on Letter sent to Indian Prime Minister: Resist the US administration Pressure and Reject the Misleading Allegations of US Business Associations

Ramya Sheshadri ramyasheshadri8 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 27 02:11:23 PDT 2014

March 27, 2014

Dr. Manmohan Singh

Hon'ble Prime Minister of India,

The Prime Minister's Office,

South Block, Raisina Hill,

New Delhi 110011.

Tel: 011 23018939; Fax: 011 2301 0233.

Email: manmohan at sansad.nic.in

*Resist the US administration Pressure and Reject the Misleading
Allegations of US Business Associations*

We the undersigned organizations and individuals are writing this letter to
urge you to reject the pressure tactics of the United States (US)
administration against India and to resist and challenge such US unilateral
threats at multilateral forum.

The unilateral pressure by US administration on India, at the behest of US
Business Associations lobby through U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC)
investigations and request to USTR to enlist India under Priority Foreign
Country under Special 301 review lacks legitimacy under WTO framework. They
are also in conflict with WTO legal obligations and these unilateral
pressure and threat of sanctions are in violation of legal obligations
under WTO framework. Further these unilateral measures adopted by US to
pressure India undermine the existence of WTO's dispute settlement

The key reason for these multiple attacks and increased lobby against India
by US administration is the rejection of patent for Gleevec and for
granting the first ever compulsory license for cancer drug Nexavar in
India. In particular US Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property
Center (GIPC), Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
(PhRMA), the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and Intellectual
Property Owners Association (IPO) have made submissions to USITC
alleging India's
intellectual property environment has declined and India's policies are
harming US companies. Their submissions are based on their perception of
India's intellectual property rights regime and disregard the facts in each
of the case.

The decision of the Supreme Court to reject patent to Gleevec and the
issuance of compulsory license for Nexavar by India are lawful, valid and
permissible measures and they do not violate Trade Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement as alleged by the US
business industries. India has rightfully utilized the TRIPS flexibilities
to advance the public health requirements of our country.

It is also important to reiterate that TRIPS agreement does not prescribe
patentability standards and it is up to member countries to determine the
standards of patentability including novelty, inventive step and industrial
applicability which will help to achieve their developmental interest.
India therefore adopted domestic patentability standards according to its
needs and amended Section 3(d) to prevent grant of patents to incremental
innovation and ensured to adopt a patentable standard which would enable
only genuine inventions are granted patent monopoly.

The intent of the parliament and the objective of the Section 3(d) was
confirmed and cemented by the decision of the Supreme Court which
reiterated only genuine inventions should enjoy patent monopoly and noted
patents on incremental innovations will hinder further innovation and also
delay early entry of generic medicines thereby affecting access to
affordable medicines.

However the ongoing allegations by US industries against India's
intellectual property regime and threats of unilateral sanctions by US has
failed to consider the available flexibilities for every Member State under
the TRIPS agreement and the 2001 Doha declaration on public health which
reinforced every Member State has the right to make full use of TRIPS
flexibilities to address public health concerns including access to
affordable medicines.

It is pertinent to note that India's total health spending is abysmal and
most health expenditure is private out of pocket payments. The major
expenditure is on drugs priced exorbitantly when bought by patients from
pharmacies of private doctors and hospitals. One of the possible ways for
government to ensure medicines are made available at affordable prices is
to use TRIPS flexibilities to its fullest to enable availability of highly
priced patented medicines at affordable price.

Apart from patients in India, millions of patients from both developed and
developing countries depend on affordable generic medicines produced in
India. Hence any law and policy change in India to minimize the use of
flexibilities would not only have an impact on the health of people in
India but also in many other countries which are dependent on Indian
generic medicines.

The multinational pharmaceutical lobby and US government are targeting
India in order to collaterally prevent many other developing countries in
using flexibilities to check the abuse of patent monopoly.  As you know at
present developing countries such as South Africa and Brazil are in the
process of amending their patent laws to incorporate provisions similar to
India's patent laws to check patent abuse and enable access to affordable
medicines. Building up and strengthening of an alliance of like-minded
developing countries at various international fora is of utmost importance
to forge a united front to push back the threat of these illegitimate
sanctions from the US Government.

Against this background we urge you

·         To challenge the legality of US Special 301 procedures at the WTO
through its Dispute Settlement Body.

·         To continue to not cooperate with the USITC investigations nor
meet any USITC officials (as already instructed to  the various ministries
of the Government of India)

·         To pass the notification of Section 92 which will help expedite
the compulsory license on patented medicines recommended by the Ministry of
Health and Family Welfare

·         To call upon the countries part of the BRICS to forge a united
front against United States unjustified unilateral measures

·         To develop an alliance with like-minded countries like Brazil,
South Africa and Thailand and defend the right of our countries to use
TRIPS flexibilities.

·         To continue to ensure the sovereignty of India to have the
freedom to take all measures necessary for the health of our people.

·         To resist and reject any amendments to our patent laws sought to
be introduced through Free Trade Agreements with United States and other
developed countries.

In Solidarity,

1.      Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA)

2.      Centre for Internet and Society

3.      Mr. Chinu Srinivasan, Low Cost Standard Therapeutics (LOCOST)

4.      Drug Action Forum - Karnataka (DAF-K)

5.      Diverse Women for Diversity, Delhi

6.      Dr. Reji K Joseph- Centre for Studies in International Politics
and Governance
Central University of Gujarat

7.      Dr. Shakthivel - Public Health Foundation of  India (PHFI)

8.      Dr.Mira Shiva- Initiative for Health and Equity in Society, Delhi

9.  Mr. E.Premdas Pinto - Public Health Research Scholar at Centre for
Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU.

10.  Focus on the Global South

11.  Forum Against FTAs

12.  Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)

13.  Indian Harm Reduction Network (IHRN)

14.  IT For Change, Bangalore

15.  Ms. Kalyani Menon Sen

16.  Lawyers Collective

17.  Mr. Luke Samson - Sharan - Society for Service to Urban Poverty

18.  Manipur Network of  Positive People (MNP+)

19.  MILANA - A Family Support Network of PLHIVs, Bangalore

20.  National Coalition of People Living With HIV in India (NCPI+ )

21.  New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI)

22.  Positive Women's Network (PWN+)

23.  Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology

24.  Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust, Mumbai

25.  Soudamini- Network of Positive Women & Children

26.  TARSHI, New Delhi

27.  The Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+)

28.  Third World Network (TWN) India

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