Indian Pharma Industry Disputes US Industry IP Index

The United States Chamber of Commerce industry group recently issued its annual global IP index, analysing intellectual property protection in 50 countries, as a prelude to the annual US government list of countries seen as not adequately protection US companies’ IP rights. Now an Indian industry group has issued a counter-statement to the Chamber index, calling it a “tirade” and “self-serving”.

An IP-Watch report on the Chamber Global Innovation Policy Center index was published here (IPW, Enforcement, 9 February 2018).

Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) Director General D G Shah issued a statement saying, “The Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) of the US Chamber of Commerce has continued its tirade against some developed and the developing countries, including India. It released its 6th Annual International IP Index last week.” The IPA was founded by some of the biggest generic pharmaceutical companies in the world, and says it represents a majority of Indian pharma exports.

“It hopes that ‘governments will use this Index as a blueprint to further improve their IP ecosystems and grow competitive, knowledge-based economies’,” the IPA continued. “To this end, it has sought the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to keep India on the Priority Watch List, notwithstanding significant improvement in the IPR environment and enforcement in India.  It has also urged the USTR to name Canada, Korea, and Malaysia as Priority Foreign Countries and to include Japan and 11 other countries on the Priority Watch List with India.”

The IPA republished its critique of the IP index, including the following points:

  • “The GIPC International IP Index is designed to promote interest of innovator pharmaceutical companies.
  • It urges maximal patent regimes for all countries and asserts that increasing patent monopolies would drive greater innovation. The evidence does not support this assertion. On the contrary, the view gaining ground is that increasing patent monopolies would actually stifle innovation. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Laureate, has pointed to the ‘broad consensus’ in the National Academy of Science and the studies that have come out of the National Bureau of Economic Research to draw attention to the negative effects of current U.S. IP policies on innovation.
  • The GIPC Index proceeds on the flawed assumption that there is a positive correlation between stronger IPR and economic development, irrespective of the stage of development of a country. It completely ignores the implications of differing legal and administrative systems in various countries and plumps for a one-size-fits-all approach in advocating the ‘strongest’ possible IP regime.
  • IP systems must necessarily strike a balance between patent rights that incentivize innovation with monopolies and the impact of high prices resulting from such monopolies on access to medicines. The GIPC Index brushes aside the recommendations of the U.N. High Level Panel on Access to Medicines and the need for balance.
  • The GIPC Index has been released at a time when the USTR is conducting a Special 301 Review. India has been put on the Priority Watch List despite it implementing the TRIPS Agreement. Unsurprisingly, PhRMA’s submission to the USTR recommends India’s continuance on the Priority Watch List.”

The IPA also said the Chamber index is “not comparable to the IMF [International Monetary Fund] or World Bank rankings in other spheres.”


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