US Pharma Association Criticises India’s Weak IPR Regime

Last Updated at: Oct 30, 2020
The governments of India and South Africa have asked the World Trade Organization to waive some provisions in a trade agreement governing Intellectual Property Rights(IPR). This is to help low-income countries access medical products more easily and at a reduced cost, during the COVID-19 situation.  They proposed the waiver should continue until widespread vaccination is in place globally. 


Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, an association of leading pharma and biotech companies in the US, has called India’s intellectual property rights (IPR) regime weak. It has suggested that it remain on the Priority Watch List in the 2016^Special 301 Report, which is an annual review of the state of IPR protection and enforcement by trading partners of the US. The issue will be heard in March.

PhRMA believes that India’s legal and regulatory systems pose procedural and substantive barriers at every step of the patent process, ranging from the obstacles to patentability, to the narrow outlook in pre- and post-grant opposition proceedings. It also fears that India’s stance on IPR will influence other emerging markets “that may see India as a model to be emulated”.

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The Indian pharma industry, however, believes India has made swift progress with regard to grant of patents, and judicial enforcement of patent rights.

DG Shah, the director general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, told Times of India, “India’s stance is that the current patent regime is fully TRIPs compliant and strikes the appropriate balance between the grant of monopoly patent rights and public health imperatives.”