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`Doha concessions not included in Patents Bill'

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, April 12

EVEN as the Patents' Amendment Bill is pending discussion in Parliament, drug manufacturers have expressed concern that it does not echo the concessions that emerged at the WTO Ministerial conference in Doha.

Mr Gajanan Wakankar, Executive Director, Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association, told presspersons on Friday that some important points that had not been incorporated in the Bill were the powers of the government to safeguard public health or interest; a foolproof definition of a patentable invention so that claimants may not be able to extend the benefit of the patent monopoly beyond two years and defining the concept of parallel imports.

Pointing out that the French Patent Law made a provision for "ex-officio'' licences for medicinal patents, IDMA suggested that special treatment be accorded to medicines in public health.

The present definition of patentable invention was not foolproof and would not block MNCs from trying to extend the benefits of patent monopoly beyond the 20-year period, on the grounds of "ever-greening''.

In this context, the manufacturers suggested that a "related drug product'' should mean a substance or a combination of substances, which was a new molecular modification or a salt or ester or a derivative or a formulation or dosage form of a known new chemical entity having the same or similar pharmaceutical activity.

On the issue of parallel imports, the association said it needed to extend beyond the patentee and allow importation of patented products for the purpose of manufacture of medicines from any economically available sources.

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