Health Policy

Generic drug row ended between India and EU

eHEALTH BureauIndia has resolved a dispute with the European Union over the repeated seizure of Indian generic drugs for patent violations, the Press Trust of India reported.It quoted Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma as saying the dispute, which had been dragging since 2008, was settled and that New Delhi would withdraw a complaint it had registered with the World Trade Organisation (WTO).”The EU has accepted our position and amended their rules,” the news agency quoted Sharma as saying in Berlin.”We have got understanding on this issue. There has been realisation and we appreciate the steps which have been taken (amended EU rules),” Sharma said on the sidelines of a business meeting.Several shipments of India-made generic medicines bound for Latin America and Africa have been seized or halted while in transit in the European Union, with the first case dating back to late 2008.The move sparked a trade dispute at the WTO, with Brazil and India filing separate complaints against the EU for violating international trade rules.The two countries said that developed countries were using the cover of a fight against counterfeit medicines to protect pharmaceutical giants and suppress legitimate generic drugs.India mostly exports off-patent generic drugs in conformity with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).India last year told the TRIPS council, a key WTO panel, that repeated seizures would hurt legitimate trade in generic medicines and universal access to medicines in developing nations.Although the European Commission clarified that no breakthrough in the ongoing dispute between India and the European Union (EU) regarding generic drug seizures had been reached yet as media reports. In response to queries from Business Standard, John Clancy, the EC’s spokesperson on trade, said he was unable to confirm Indian media reports that the matter had been resolved.”We can confirm that the European Commission is engaged in consultations with India and that talks are constructive, with both sides agreeing that an amicable solution to this dispute would be preferable,” he said.

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