Patent Political Economy - Indian Lessons on Pharmaceutical Patent


The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime adopted by any country is essentially a tool that strives to ensure both the growth of the domestic pharmaceutical industry and people’s access to medicines. But, contrary to the very easily advanced theory, there is no paradox between the two. From this perspective, the Indian experience has shown that it is precisely the relaxation of its national IPR regime that promoted the growth of its domestic industry, thereby ensuring a better patient access to medicines. However, the globalisation process does not overlook any sector, which means that medicines too are submitted to the new legal framework established within the WTO. To understand better the stakes involved in the ratification of the TRIPS agreement in India, this paper addresses several issues. It begins by establishing that opting for the intellectual property regime is not without consequences. It determines the extent of progress achieved in the industrial and health sectors both in the developed as well as developing countries. Then, it analyses how the TRIPS agreement establishes a strong IPR system that aims to reconcile protection of innovation and public health promotion by providing for “exceptions” at the global level. Finally, after having dealt in detail with Indian reticence and tardiness in making its legislation TRIPS compatible, the paper presents the prospects available presently for India.


Economics | Health Law and Policy | Intellectual Property Law | International Law | International Trade Law | Law and Economics

Date of this Version

December 2006