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MSF welcomes Ministry of Commerce clarification on Compulsory Licensing

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Warns US pressure on India will continue

The Ministry of Commerce recently clarified that media reports claiming that the Government of India will not issue any more compulsory licenses (CL) is factually incorrect. It further clarified that it has the freedom to grant CL and to determine the grounds upon which such licences are granted.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) welcomed the clarification but cautioned that it will be a grave mistake to think that the US pharma industry, US India Business Council (USIBC) and the US Trade Representative (USTR) will give up their campaign against the implementation of public health safeguards within India’s patent law, which allow generic producers to provide life-saving drugs at affordable prices.

Currently, US government and industry are pushing for amendments to the Indian patent rules to allow out of turn fast track examination of patent applications, which will undermine the efforts of public interest organisations and patient groups to file pre-grant oppositions against the grant of ‘evergreening’ patent claims on medicines. We urge Prime Minister Modi to continue to maintain India’s pro-public health stance on intellectual property and access to medicines, and to resist pressure from the US and its pharmaceutical industry lobbyists. To do otherwise is to impede India’s progress towards using legal flexibilities allowed under international trade rules to protect new models of innovation, access and trade in generic medicines,” said Leena Menghaney, Regional Head-South Asia, MSF Access Campaign.

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