The US Trade Representative (USTR) is against India's intellectual property rights (IPR) laws.
The US government is under pressure from lobby groups, led by pharma multinationals, to initiate action. Indian law has special provisions that allow patent authorities to reject a patent application citing lack of innovation.
The pressure from local lobby groups, led by pharma multinationals, will initiate the action as the Indian law has special provisions that allow patent authorities to reject a patent application citing lack of innovation. The global pharma companies are particularly upset with the use of compulsory licensing provisions. These rules allow authorities in India to waive the patent rights for a cancer drug. They fear that other countries may follow suit to make drugs more affordable for patients.
The USTR will launch an "out-of-cycle review" (OCR) of India's IPR regime and place India on the priority watch list, due to "heightened level of concern about the deterioration in India's environment for IP protection and enforcement".
An OCR is a second stage of the Special 301 action and being an extreme measure; the US authorities can impose sanctions after putting the country in the "priority foreign watch" category.
The Indian government has, however, dismissed it as a unilateral action by the US and said concerns of a foreign government need to be taken up at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The government confirms that Indian laws and rules are compliant with our commitments at WTO.
Some of the comments from the Indian community are:
- No country should judge another countries mandates and policies using its yardsticks when there is a multilateral agreement.
- Indian pharmaceutical companies are doing nothing wrong when they clone drugs that are no longer patent. When their patents run out, the global pharmaceuticals sometimes add another generic chemical to the brand and re-patent those drugs. This revival makes them non-accessible for the poor people of India.
- The Supreme Court of India has given a verdict in favor of Indian pharma companies in this respect.