Indian pharma alliance head wary on TPP

In a recent opinion essay written for The Hindu newspaper, the head of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, Archana Jatkar, said the recently agreed-upon Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)--of which India is not a signatory--would nonetheless have wide-ranging impacts on the country's $15 billion pharmaceutical sector because of new rules on intellectual property (IP). "Countries like India will need to examine TPPA implications especially on non-violation complaints," Jatkar wrote, adding that current "flexibilities" available under the WTO TRIPS trade pact are not available under TPP. Jatkar wrote that the TPP "effectively extends monopoly rights" in several cases and that "although India is not a party to the TPP, these TRIPS-plus provisions are significant for the Indian pharmaceutical industry as they will be applied to its exports to TPP members. This could impact and delay the entry of generic drugs, threatening access to medicines for all." Jatkar also said the TPP pact was worrisome because it "aims to grant patents for inventions which are merely variations and not entirely new or novel. This dilutes patentability requirements leading to their 'ever-greening' and extension of monopoly by at least five years. This will delay entry of a generic version of a medicine, impacting its affordability and access." India will also be affected because the government will be restricted in its ability to use compulsory licenses as a way to negotiate prices with patent holders, the essay stated. Jatkar added "inclusion of path-breaking provisions such as covering IP as an asset in the investment chapter and giving customs officials powers to impound legitimate generic medicines, including for goods-in-transit, will further limit the reach of generic companies to many markets." Report