INDIAN GROUP CALLS FOR PRICING TO REFLECT PATENT LAW
Following the introduction of WHO-compliant patent legislation in India, the country's round-table Working Group on Patent Laws has asked the government to protect the domestic drug industry and ensure continued supplies of affordable medicines.
The group has called for reforms to India's pricing, tariff and tax structures, in order to reflect and offset the impact of the new patent laws. Some domestic firms fear that if market forces are left to determine prices, costs for local manufacturers and consumers will become prohibitive. However, the group concedes that affordable, life-saving medicines are a rarity on the Indian market in any case.
India's new patent legislation is encouraging multinationals to launch their high-end patented products. Unsurprisingly, the multinationals' growing presence is seen as a threat to India's domestic drugmakers, even though these specialise in low-cost generics and currently account for 95% of all drugs manufactured in the country.
Local producers are especially exercised over the possibility of so-called
"evergreening." The fact that most imported drugs will be subject
to intellectual property provisions even if patented outside India also remains
a concern; meanwhile, the group acknowledges that a lack of trained pharmacists
could threaten the success of any plans to encourage generic substitution.