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Growing Number Of Countries Adopting Flexible IP Regulations After India Issues Country's First Compulsory License

“A growing number of countries are adopting India’s intellectual property regulations, which give enough flexibility to local companies to produce generic versions of popular drugs to safeguard public health,” India’s Economic Times reports, noting, “In March, India issued the country’s first compulsory license, allowing [Natco Pharma] to legally manufacture and sell a low-cost version of German drugmaker Bayer AG’s patented cancer drug, Nexavar, at 3 percent of the original medicine’s price on the grounds that Bayer’s drug was not meeting public health requirement.” The news service writes, “Although multinational companies have criticized India for being lax in enforcing intellectual property (IP) laws, countries such as China, Argentina, and the Philippines are adopting similar provisions.”

China last month “amended its IP laws, allowing local companies to produce low-cost versions of patented drugs under certain conditions, including meeting public health needs,” the news service writes, adding, “According to DG Shah, secretary-general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, while the move to amend IP laws in China had been underway for some years, the trigger was provided earlier this year by India’s decision to grant compulsory license to Natco Pharma.” The news service continues, “Multinational companies [MNCs] as well as some countries, including the U.S., have been critical about India’s implementation of IP laws and the liberal use of the compulsory license provision,” noting, “India and China, which together account for about a third of the world’s population, form a critical market for MNCs” (Singh, 6/22).