Web Date: March 1, 2007
Indian Patent Experts Pull Back Opinion
The Indian government has confirmed that R. A. Mashelkar, the chairman of the influential committee that has been studying how to revise the country's pharmaceutical patent law, has asked to withdraw a report that the committee submitted to the government in late December.
The five-person committee is made up of some of India's top scientists and legal experts. Press reports from India say the committee plagiarized a document published in November 2005 by the Intellectual Property Institute, a London-based think tank led in part by executives from drug companies.
In an interview with the Hindu newspaper, Mashelkar blamed the plagiarism, a mere "eight to 10 lines," on drafting work performed by a subgroup. When submitted in December, the committee's report advised the government to further tighten the revised patent rules India adopted in 2005 (C&EN, Jan. 29, page 29).
Indian producers of generic drugs and nongovernment organizations such as Doctors Without Borders fear that tightening patents will lead to higher drug prices.
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