March 15, 2012

U.S. Chamber Releases Statement on India’s Issuance of its First Compulsory License

WASHINGTON D.C.—David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, released the following statement in response to the Government of India issuing its first compulsory license to allow for the generic manufacturing of a patented anti-cancer drug:

“We are disappointed in the issuance of a compulsory license. We share the Government of India’s desire to improve access to medicines, but do not believe that this is the right approach. Weakening patent protection for innovative pharmaceutical products will impede the development of new life-saving solutions without improving access to quality, affordable health care.

“The Government of India should resist the use of compulsory licenses in all but the most extreme cases, after exhausting all other alternatives. While governments in general have recognized that there are certain occasions which call for the issuance of compulsory licenses, especially in the case of pandemics or other health care emergencies, this case is not one of those occasions. A reliance on compulsory licenses in general is bad for innovation and bad for overall health policy.

“Strong intellectual property protections are vital to the creation of innovation. Intellectual property rights are designed to incentivize individuals and businesses small and large to invest in innovation. The dollars applied to research and development (R&D) fuel innovative and creative industries, which, in turn, lead to novel creations, stimulate the economy, create jobs, and enhance competitiveness. Although we will not address the specifics of this case, the issuance of compulsory licenses for anything other than such exceptional circumstances would do irreparable harm not only to the biopharmaceutical industry but to all innovative industries.

“As an innovative economy, we encourage India to continue to promote strong intellectual property protection across the board in all industries and sectors.”

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion intellectual property (IP) rights as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth, and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.            @USChamber  

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