Concerns Regarding Patents Bill 2005 Introduced in the Loksabha

The Affordable Medicines and Treatment Campaign
18 March 2005

CONTACT: K M Gopakumar
Tel - 9819140881

On 18 March 2005 the government of India introduced the Patents Bill, 2005 in the Lok Sabha based on the highly controversial Patents Ordinance, 2004. Despite there being public debate and opposition to the provisions of the Patents Ordinance 2004, the government did not feel it necessary to take into consideration the concerns of health experts and the people. The government's insensitivity was particularly manifested in the fact that not a single line of the Ordinance has been changed in the Patents Bill. Many groups including the Affordable Medicines and Treatment Campaign (AMTC) have raised objections against the contents of the Patents Ordinance and the manner in which it was promulgated.

All the provisions in the Ordinance that are beyond TRIPS have been retained in the Bill and flexibilities under TRIPS to safeguard health have been ignored.

We have no doubt whatsoever that if enacted in its present form, the provisions of the Patents Bill will seriously jeopardize public health. AMTC strongly demands the inclusion of the following provisions in the Patents Bill to safeguard public health:

  1. A clear definition of 'Patentable Criteria'
  2. No patents for new usage and dosage of known drugs
  3. Retain pre-grant opposition in its original form
  4. Simple procedures with a time limit for grant of Compulsory Licences
  5. Introduction of ceiling on royalty to pharmaceutical companies

The AMTC demands the removal of 'TRIPS PLUS' provisions and that the Bill be referred to a Parliamentary Select Committee.

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