(Photo Courtesy: www.penumbramag.com)
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is deeply concerned about the recent revelations in the media that a US industry lobby group - the US India Business Council (USIBC) and US Chamber of Commerce - has received verbal, private assurances from Indian officials that it will not use ‘compulsory licensing' (CL) for commercial purposes.
The statements are part of USIBC's submission to USTR's (US Trade Representative) annual Special 301 report.
Many US industries, in particular the pharmaceutical industry, use the report to condemn governments which employ intellectual property (IP) systems that do not match intellectual property laws and practices in the United States.
Current US intellectual property laws enable drug makers to charge exorbitant prices for medicines, such as Gilead Sciences, which charge up to US$1,000 a pill for new hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir.
India-the world's principal producer and supplier of quality generic medicines, including for US-funded treatment programs like PEPFAR that support antiretroviral treatment in developing countries- has in recent years repeatedly been singled out by the US government and the multinational pharmaceutical industry for insufficient enforcement of intellectual property.