India and EU will soon begin consultations to resolve disputes concerning seizure of drugs of leading pharma companies like Dr. Reddy’s Labs and Lupin by customs authorities in the European Union.
India has launched a formal complaint at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) under the dispute settlement mechanism against confiscation of generic drugs destined to African and Latin American nations like Brazil by EU.
“Within the next 7-8 days, EU officials will finalise the venue and timing of the talks,” a senior Commerce Ministry official said.
Under the WTO dispute settlement provisions, EU would have to enter into consultations with India to resolve the issue within 60 days.
“If the two sides fail to reach any agreement then India could ask WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel to adjudicate over the alleged violations of trade rules by EU,” he said.
During the last one year, some of the European customs, especially the Dutch authorities, seized 19 drug consignments of Indian companies, including that of Dr. Reddy’s, Cipla and Lupin, which were on way to Africa and Latin America. EU had been seizing the dispatches alleging violation of their patent law.
But India has repeatedly said that its generic drugs were in compliance with international treaties and have helped in bringing down the cost of life saving medicines.
In the past India took up the issue with the 27-nation bloc at various fora but the matter could not be resolved.
Brazil would also participate as the third party in the consultation process, the official said.
India’s $12 billion pharmaceuticals industry gets 40 per cent of its revenue from exports of generic drugs.