India has strongly complained to the UN intellectual property rights body, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), about how some handful of multinational companies had launched a deliberate campaign against India’s pharmaceutical industry, which has broken their ‘cartel’ in the generic drugs.

“We know how the campaign was there. They still continue to misinform, mislead and confuse when it comes to the Indian generics, which have brought a major change in the world,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told Francis Gurry, the Director General of Geneva-based WIPO, here.

Several consignments of off-patent generic drugs of Indian firms have been seized in the recent past in Europe on way to destinations like Brazil and some African nations. While these are off-patent drugs, some of the European nations have confiscated the drugs alleging they violated their IPRs.

“There was a time when there was suffocating stranglehold of multinational drug cartels in the anti-retrovial drugs for HIV/AIDS. It was the Indian pharmaceutical firms which have brought down the annual HIV/AIDS treatment cost from $11,000 to $400,” he said at a conference jointly organised by the Commerce Ministry, WIPO and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

For Indian firms, Africa and Latin America are the major markets for low-cost drugs used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The two continents account for around 15 per cent of India’s total pharmaceutical exports of about Rs. 40,000 crore.

Robust mechanism

Mr. Sharma further said that India had a strong intellectual property regime and the law covered the entire gamut, including copyrights, trademarks and geographical indicators. “It’s not only that we have IPR regime but we also have a robust institutional and administrative mechanism to implement the law,” Mr. Sharma said.

He said actions were being taken against those who violated IPRs. Mr. Sharma said India had finalised an agreement on traditional knowledge digital library (TKDL) with the U.S.

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