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India: Health activists fear decreased access to medicines for the poor - as govt reviews intellectual property laws

Health activists, academics, diplomats, scientists, lawyers, public health organizations have raised concerns about government's decision to review India’s position on Intellectual Property laws, strongly cautioning against coercion from the United States to align India’s IP laws with the interests of transnational corporations. During Indian Prime Minister's visit to US, govt officials committed to set up a high level bilateral working group on intellectual property. The most dangerous aspect of the proposed committee that India has agreed to is the empowerment for decision-making. In the recent past, the country has seen how a conducive IP policy, that doesn’t violate international conventions, has greatly helped millions of people who are in need for urgent modern medical care. The compulsory licensing of a couple of drugs have brought down their prices manifold and increased access to medicines for the poor people. 

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Article
8 October 2014

Modi must resist U.S. pressure on drug patents - MSF

Author: Nita Bhalla, Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi must not give in to U.S. pressure to change intellectual property laws which allow India to produce generic medicines poor people can afford, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said…MSF said U.S. officials would lobby Modi on the issue of patents as they see India's intellectual property regime as undermining the interests of U.S. pharmaceutical firms…. India’s patent laws and policies have fostered robust generic competition over the past decade, which has brought the price of medicines down substantially – in the case of HIV, by more than 90 percent. The world can’t afford to see India’s pharmacy shut down by U.S. commercial interests."

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Article
8 October 2014

Academics, diplomats, scientists, lawyers, public health orgs issue open letter to PM on proposed IP Policy review

Author: Rupali Samuel, SpicyIP.com

A variety of concerned stakeholders…have written a sharp open letter to Narendra Modi’s government on the decision to review India’s position on IP laws…strongly cautioning against coercion from the foreign state to align India’s IP laws with the interests of transnational corporations… they…demand that the Government of India should not carry out any amendment to the Indian Patents Act to increase patent protection”  calling upon the “Prime Minister, during his visit to the US, not to make any legal or political commitment that compromises flexibilities in the Indian Patents Act for facilitating access to medicines and safeguarding public health, which is based on policies and principles approved by Indian Parliament and is fully consistent with international laws.

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Article
8 October 2014

India’s intellectual property regime fully compliant with WTO norms: Government

Author: Economic Times

India has consistently pointed out that the intellectual property right (IPR) legal regime in India is fully TRIPS compliant and that any issues to be discussed have to be discussed in bilateral forums like Trade Policy Forum (TPF)," the department of industrial policy and promotion said in a release...The joint statement, issued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to America, has said, "...The leaders committed to establish an annual high level IP Working Group with appropriate decision making and technical level meetings as a part of the TPF". The statement on the IPR issue will only strengthen the bilateral institutional mechanism, DIPP said. "The joint statement issued merely reiterates whatever has existed in the earlier TPF," it added.

 

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Article
8 October 2014

Why did Modi agree to give away India’s patent sovereignty to Americans?

Author: G Pramod Kumar, Firstpost

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit was dubbed as a great bilateral victory for India… The sector in question is Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)… The leaders…talk about a high level bilateral working group on intellectual property... most dangerous aspect of the proposed committee that India has agreed to is the empowerment for decision-making…It was the existing IP policy that helped build India’s pharma industry, which now is the lifeline for not only the country’s healthcare needs, but also that of most of the developing world. This regime is extremely crucial for ensuring an enabling environment for the pharma industry because it is still not capable of developing new drugs on its own given the poor resources at its disposal.

Article
6 October 2014

India: Health activists concerned about affordability of medicines due to US govt. & business pressure

Author: Brook V Baker, Equlibri

Prime Minister Modi is promising to open India to more direct foreign investment and to further liberalize the Indian economy to make it easier for multinational corporations to operate there. To the dismay of health activists worldwide, the US administration appears to have successfully used the Indian PM’s visit to maneuver the Indian government into committing to a joint mechanism on intellectual property. The benign sounding “High Level Intellectual Property (IP) Working Group” is designed to pressure India into changing its interpretation and application of health safeguards in India’s intellectual property policy, ultimately undermining India’s role as the pharmacy for the poor.

 

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