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No action from WTO on India’s compulsory licensing

According to the World Trade Organisation, no country has objected to India allowing compulsory licences on one cancer drug or to the decision by the country’s courts to invalidate the patent on another. It’s a case of big pharma having no friends, according to this article in The Hindu Business Line. (Compulsory licences allow a local manufacturer to produce copies of a patented medicine and to pay small royalties to the original inventor). Indeed, the remarks of the WTO Director General look like a real slap down in diplomatic terms, ““recent decisions by the courts in India have led to a lot of protest by pharmaceutical companies. But decisions made by an independent judiciary have to be respected as such.”

Whether the WTO will be quite so calm if India fails to take action on the apparently blatant copying of a diabetes drug, remains to be seen. This case is very different (as Spicy IP explains): no-one contests that a valid patent exists and the innovator was already selling the product in India for about a fifth the price it was charging in the high income countries.

Pakistan, meanwhile, has dropped to 106 out of 144 countries on a rating of IP protection carried out by the World Economic Forum, according to the Inndevcom blog.



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