At last, and delayed from Monday...RxPG News reports that NGO Medicin sans Frontiers has expressed concern at India’s recent amendments to its Patent Act. Previous India did not grant product patents, but this has changed in an attempt to make India TRIPs compliant. This will make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to obtain Indian patents. India has also made it harder to get compulsory licences granted on public health grounds. However, patented technology that is already the subject of a compulsory licence will continue to be available to the manufacturers of generics, but on payment of a licence fee. Currently 50% of those on anti-retroviral drugs rely on Indian generic versions.
The IPKat thinks that, if there’s a problem, the correct way isn’t to attack India for complying with its international obligations. Either it’s to call for TRIPs to be amended to better take into account the needs of those who cannot afford crucial treatment, or to continue to encourage the IP rights-holders to make those drugs available to those in serious need on preferential terms.