Pharma protests Indian licensing proposal

The Indian pharmaceutical industry has been shaken up lately, worried that multinational drugmakers will come in and completely take over their drug market. The fears aren't unfounded; Big Pharma, after all, has been targeting the subcontinent as a key location for expansion, as sales-growth slows in the U.S. and Europe.

The country wants foreign investment in the industry. Just not too much, apparently. Regulators have been considering all sorts of measures to protect homegrown drugmakers, such as broad-based price controls. But the most controversial is compulsory licensing, under which the government would waive Big Pharma patent rights so that Indian pharma could produce cut-rate copies of patented meds.

Understandably, international drugmakers don't like the idea, and they've now lodged their complaints with the government agency weighing the new proposals. PhRMA and the Intellectual Property Federation--a U.K. group that represents Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline, among others--have decried the idea, saying that compulsory licensing would force big drugmakers to rethink their supply partnerships with Indian drugmakers and their plans to invest more money in the country.

One of the reasons Big Pharma started getting interested in doing business in India was that the government had put together some decent intellectual property protections. Reversing that choice seems like it would be a step backward for India, at least if it wants foreign investment.

- read the Business Standard piece