India and EU to resolve generic drug dispute

Generics/News | Posted 01/12/2009 post-comment0 Post your comment

India will resolve a dispute with the EU over generic drugs in an amicable way, Trade Minister Anand Sharma said on 6 November 2009.

A formal trade dispute has loomed between India and Brazil on one side, and the EU on the other. The case threatened to escalate to India and Brazil taking the EU to court at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The row erupted against the backdrop of flourishing trade ties between India and the EU, which both sides aim to boost with a free trade pact by 2010.

Developing countries believe the case, originally involving the seizure by Dutch customs of a blood pressure drug en route from India to Brazil in December 2008, is a symbol of their mistreatment by rich nations and corporations.

“They have taken tangible steps”, Mr Sharma told reporters after talks with EU officials in the Indian capital. “We both are committed to resolve the outstanding matter amicably.”

Mr Sharma said the shipment of drugs was consistent with WTO regulations. “These shipments were for third countries, and therefore there was no violation,” he said.

The row sums up a major dilemma in trade and intellectual property policy – how to reconcile the provision of affordable medicine to people in poor countries with the need to encourage medical research through patent protection.

Mr Sharma was joined at a press conference by the Swedish Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling and EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton, who said officials on both sides were meeting later in November 2009 to resolve the dispute.

“We have no intention to stop the legitimate export or transit of generic medicine”, Ms Ashton said. “We want to work together to resolve the issue.”

Rajesh Kumar Singh, Matthias Williams. UPDATE 2-India, EU to resolve generic drug dispute-minister. Reuters. 2009 Nov 6.

Source: Reuters

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