It’s outrageous that the US government is once again attempting to stand in the way of India, says MSF
The US has retained India on its priority watch list for ‘lack of sufficient measurable improvements’ to the IP framework despite robust engagement and positive steps on intellectual property protection and enforcement by the Indian government in the last two years.
Releasing its annual 301 Report, the US said that it will continue to put India and China on its priority watch list for intellectual property rights (IPR).
Pakistan, however, has been upgraded from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said in its annual report.
“India remains on the Priority Watch List this year for lack of sufficient measurable improvements to its IPR framework despite more robust engagement and positive steps forward on IPR protection and enforcement undertaken by the Government of India,” the USTR said in its report.
USTR retains the option of conducting an Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) of India should developments positive or negative weigh in favour of a review in advance of the annual cycle, the report said.
Judit Rius Sanjuan, US Manager & Legal Policy Adviser Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders USA’ Access Campaign said, “It’s outrageous that the US government is once again attempting to stand in the way of India and other developing countries’ efforts to increase access to affordable, lifesaving medicines. India’s policies save lives and are fully consistent with global trade rules. The US government should support countries, rather than penalize them, for not bowing to the persistent efforts of the multinational pharma industry to severely restrict generic competition in India and worldwide.”
The US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) Executive Vice President Mark Elliot said that while India has been identified by the US Trade Representative as a Priority Watch List country, recent policy reversals continue to pose challenges for creators and innovators. Elliot said, “We remain hopeful that further engagement between the US and India will lead to a much improved IP environment and allow India to make positive contributions to the global innovation ecosystem.”
(With inputs from PTI)
EP News Bureau – Mumbai