Govt to use TRIPS to protect domestic pharma

The government said it will protect the pharma sector from IPR-related foreign pressures.

The Dollar Business Bureau

The government on Monday reiterated its commitment to protect the domestic pharmaceutical sector from all IPR-related foreign pressures by employing flexibilities extended under the Trade-Related details of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) framework.

“In this regard, it is also to be mentioned that FDI is permitted in the brownfield pharma sector through government approval route only,” Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply in Lok Sabha on Monday. 

Sitharaman also signaled that the US Special 301 report has placed India on the Priority Watch List, as the US considers India’s IPR protection relatively inadequate.

The Commerce Minister indicated that the report is a unilateral measure to influence countries to enhance their IPR protection regime beyond the TRIPS agreement.

She, however, underscored that as part of the WTO regime, the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO will handle any probable dispute between India and the US over the matter, as unilateral actions are not appropriate under this framework.

The TRIPS regime has been contentious for various reasons, especially for the developing economies such as India, which has in past raised disputes with regard to pharmaceutical products’ patents.