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India ready to take on US at WTO platform

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma on Sunday came out strongly to defend India's track record on intellectual property rights and said that the country is ready to take on the US at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the issue.

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma on Sunday came out strongly to defend India's track record on intellectual property rights and said that the country is ready to take on the US at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the issue. "If the US wants a discussion in WTO, we are more than ready because we are not in any breach. We are very clear,'' Sharma said.

An Indian committee is reviewing up to a dozen patented drugs to see if socalled compulsory licences, which in effect break exclusivity rights, can be issued for some of them. In 2012, India issued its first- ever compulsory licence to domestic drugmaker Natco Pharma Ltd on a kidney and liver cancer drug, Nexavar, patented by Germany's Bayer AG. That and a series of recent decisions on patented drugs in India, as part of New Delhi's push to increase access to lifesaving treatments, is at the centre of trade friction between India and the United States.

India is on the US government's Priority Watch List- countries whose practices on protecting intellectual property Washington believes should be monitored closely.

US industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America believes Washington should take a tougher line by downgrading it to a Priority Foreign Country.

India is concerned over the manner in which the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) was carrying out audit inspections of Indian pharmaceutical companies and in some cases announcing major penalties without even waiting for the clarification from these firms to come through.

Sharma said he had told USFDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg during her visit last month that the US should keep in loop Indian authorities if they have any issues.

Courtesy: Mail Today