India agrochemical patent protection offers hope for multinational pharma

Foreign drugmakers could be about to get at least some of the increased patent protection they have been pressing for in India, if a government proposal in a related industry is any indication.

The government's cabinet was reportedly set to extend data exclusivity protection for agrochemicals from three years to 5. Sources told the Financial Express the proposal was in the form of an amendment to legislation pending in the upper house of Parliament.

The cabinet took the step based on a recommendation by an interministerial committee. Some observers consider the same data exclusivity protection would be given to makers of innovative drugs if the government were to be consistent in its actions. Similar proposals have been made in international trade talks.

But India's generics industry is a large one, with many more participants than in the agrochemical business where multinational companies such as BASF, Bayer, Dow Chemical ($DOW), DuPont ($DD), Monsanto ($MON) and Syngenta ($SYT) dominate.

Generics makers have argued that giving data exclusivity in the drug industry an extra two years could be used by patent holders to prolong their protection.

The head of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance said the group would oppose introducing the longer data exclusivity in India.

- here's the story from Financial Express