New IP rules in EU could cut Indian pharma shipments

Changes in intellectual property (IP) rules in the European Union have Indian drugmakers worried because the new regulations empower EU countries such as Belgium to impound Indian-made drugs that are transshipped via the EU to developing countries in Latin America and Africa, according to a report by the Economic Times. The issue is a crucial one for India and was at the heart of a break in trade talks when Belgium seized or banned 700 drugs tested by GVK Bio Sciences because of quality control worries. The event caused India and the EU to break off trade discussions that are only now getting back on track with the GVK issue set aside in order to allow talks on other issues to proceed. India raised its concerns with the EU previously and took action at the World Trade Organization, but the EU has "raised the bar" by making transshipment rules even tougher, according to the report. NGO officials are also getting into the spat with officials from Doctors Without Borders saying "in-transit scrutiny of legitimate generic medicines under the banner of trademark infringement will create new barriers to the flow of generic medicines that are on their way to patients who need them," the Economic Times report said. Report