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Updated February 16th, 2024 at 17:14 IST

Government's trade stand balances IPRs, and pharma needs: GTRI report

The government aims to provide greater market access to generic drug manufacturers and significantly reduce the cost of life-saving medicines.

Reported by: Business Desk
Trade
Representative | Image:Unsplash
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Government's FTA stand: A report by the Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) highlights the government's stance on intellectual property rights (IPRs) and pharmaceutical issues in proposed trade agreements. The report, released on Friday, emphasises that the approach strikes a balance between innovation and public health needs, ensuring the availability of affordable medicines and promoting the growth of the generic medicine industry.

By opposing the demands of developed nations on issues like 'data exclusivity' and 'patent linkage' in free trade agreements (FTAs), the government aims to provide greater market access to generic drug manufacturers and significantly reduce the cost of life-saving medicines.

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Innovation and public health

The GTRI paper underscores the commitment to balancing innovation with public health needs and adopting a flexible interpretation of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to align with its developmental goals. This approach also aims to prevent the establishment of unfair monopolies, especially in the pharmaceutical sector.

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This stance reflects broader efforts to protect traditional knowledge and ensure the availability of affordable medicines, addressing significant global challenges in healthcare and IPRs.

The report notes that developed countries often pressure developing nations to make commitments in FTAs on IPR matters beyond those agreed upon under the TRIPs agreement of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a practice known as TRIPs-plus.

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Generic drug industry 

The government's stand against TRIPs-plus provisions demonstrates its commitment to safeguarding the interests of its domestic generic drug industry in FTAs. The country has consistently opposed provisions such as data exclusivity, patent term extensions, ever-greening of patents, broader patentability criteria, and patent linkage proposed by developed countries in FTAs.

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The government also challenges the notion of automatic patent extensions for delays in regulatory approval, advocating for a case-by-case evaluation to prevent the unfair prolongation of monopolies. The country opposes patent linkage, connecting marketing approval to patent status, arguing that it hampers generic competition and restricts access to essential medicines.

(with PTI inputs)

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Published February 16th, 2024 at 17:14 IST

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