|Picture Credit: Kevin Dean from www.betaart.com|
As we’ve highlighted several times on this blog, the pharmaceutical lobby in EU and US have (through their governments) tried to push India into accepting many stronger IP rights, including data exclusivity. As we’ve also highlighted several times, data exclusivity has been consistently been opposed by the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance as well as several NGOs; however we haven’t been as sure as to what position the government was going to take in the EU-India FTA that’s being negotiated. Recently, in the Consultative Committee of Parliament on challenges in IPR, Mr Anand Sharma, the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, who chaired the meeting, clearly stated that data exclusivity would not be permitted, as it is a TRIPS-plus demand and that allowing it would considerably impact the entry of generic medicines into the market.
He also made a mention of the illegal seizures that took place due to EC Regulation 1383 and stated that the EU’s statement on the matter is that they’ve intensified efforts to change the regulation. In response to the worrying development of the ACTA, he stated that all the concerned departments, including the Dept of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Health, Pharmaceuticals, and MEA are acting in concert with one another.
This clear stance by the Commerce Minister will give relief to at least some of the concerns about the FTA’s outcome. For the full press release, see here.