Think Tank Constitution raises Eyebrows

Think Tank Constitution raises EyebrowsThe newly constituted think tank which has been assigned the task of formulating the IPR Policy of India has come under the scanner as different categories of stakeholders have expressed concerns over lack of representation.

Recently, Organisation of Pharma Producers of India (OPPI) has written to the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy asking for a review of the membership of the think tank. OPPI has demanded induction of someone from the research driven industry or an IP owner that has some skin in the game. Established in 1965, OPPI represents research based pharmaceutical companies in India and has among its members many multinational pharma companies. Similar demands have been raised by US Pharma and Biotech groups like PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) and BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization).

US based pharma groups have already submitted their demands to USTR’s office. In its submission to the USTR, PhRMA has advocated development of a comprehensive IPR policy in India. It complained that the present think thank lacks transparency and opportunity for meaningful stakeholder input, particularly from IP holders.

Lila Feisee, Vice-President, International affairs, BIO, in her submission to the USTR alleged that Justice Prabha Sridevan, who is chairing the think tank, has been outspoken in her defence of Indian patent law and has generally favoured local generic industry. Foreign pharma groups apprehend that the present think tank would draft laws in favour of the Indian pharma industry and their interest would be ignored altogether.

On the other hand, Indian Pharmaceutical companies expect government to ignore such demands by these foreign pharma groups as they believe that the think tank has been setup to formulate India’s national policy and comments from these foreign pharma groups would suffice rather than giving them active membership in the think tank. Also, Indian authorities believe that Justice Sridevan has delivered some of the finest IPR judgements including the one on compulsory licence of cancer drug Nexavar and there is no need of any apprehension.