Access to Medicines in India: A Review of Recent Concerns
29 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2009
Date Written: July 20, 2009
India has long been a central front in the struggle for access to affordable medicines. Because of its dynamic generic pharmaceutical industry, it has become what Médecins Sans Frontières has called the “Pharmacy of the Developing World” (MSF 2007). As a result, it has also been a key battleground on some of the most contentious issues relating to whether, and to what extent, countries retain flexibilities under the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (the TRIPS Agreement) to ensure that patent protection does not come at the cost of access to safe, effective and affordable essential medicines. This chapter reviews some of the key developments in India, four years on, since the entry into force of the Patents (Amendment) Act of 2005, which introduced product patent protection for pharmaceuticals for the first time since 1972. Although there have been some notable successes for the access to medicines movement, many challenges remain, and the future of India’s continuing status as the developing world’s pharmacy remains unclear. This paper examines some of the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for India.
Keywords: India, Access to Medicines, TRIPS, Data Exclusivity, Patents
JEL Classification: I10, I11, I18, L3, 010, 034
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