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Indian government accepts pro-patent report

Published on 01/09/09 at 02:17pm

The government of India has accepted the findings of a report into its patent laws, which recommends maintaining a higher level of patent protection for pharmaceutical products.

The government's decision is good news for the international pharma industry, and ends a long-running controversy around the issue.

Eminent scientist R A Mashelkar was asked to conduct a study of India's patent laws in 2005, and whether or not patents should be limited to only new chemical or medical entities.

India scrapped most patent protection in 1972, helping to create a large generics industry, but in 2005 signed up to the international TRIPS patent agreement. Generics companies have pushed for some measured to be repealed, but India is now set to retain its rules.

Mashelkar's report, published in 2007, concluded that the laws should not be relaxed  a viewpoint swiftly attacked by some Indian generic manufacturers groups. The independence of his report was called into question and accused of plagarism when one passage was found to be lifted from a submission by a UK lawyer.

But Mashelkar was asked to re-submit his report earlier this year, and repeated his original conclusions.  The Indian governments TEG (Technical Expert Group) has now backed these findings, saying that limiting patents would not be in line with the TRIPS patent agreement.


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