India abandons TRIPs plus to embrace the EU

Surprising outcome of the Commerce Minister’s meeting with the EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht in Brussels regarding the proposed FTA with the EU is that India will not go ahead with its tough intellectual property regime. In the preliminary discussions, India has offered the EU that the country will stick on to the WTO’s TRIPs regime. This will have big implication since, many TRIPs plus provisions including a strong compulsory licensing regime (Baer issue) and an anti-evergreening provision (Novartis issue) should be softened under the FTA with the EU.

Government’s move to have a liberal TRIPs regime favoring Pharma MNCs of EU seems to be counter balanced on the IT front. Here, India has secured a favor in the form of greater number of Visas for IT professionals.  

The FTAs implication on the  country’s intellectual property front will be quite serious if the above mentioned provisions are removed. The 2005 patent Act is a major regime among the WTO members which protect the generic drug makers as well as checking the exploitative practices of the MNCs.

Again the interesting fact about the post TRIPs regime is that a large number of patent disputes are coming especially involving European Pharmaceutical MNCs.

The sacrifice that the government is making on the pharmaceutical front is supposed to be compensated on the service sector. But, still the abandoning of the healthy provisions of the 2005 Patent Act is a tough choice even if reciprocal gains are accounted.