Protest at Indian embassy in US on patent law

Protest at Indian embassy in US on patent law

Press Trust of India

Washington, January 9: Several organisations campaigning for cheaper drugs for developing nations on Sunday demonstrated in front of the Indian embassy in Washington against India's new patent law, alleging that it represented "a surrender" by the country to major pharmaceutical firms.

The amendments "would impact 200 impoverished countries to which India was exporting low-cost medicines," Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance, Paul Zeitz, said in a press release.

Besides the Global AIDS Alliance, Washington-based Association for India's Development, Global AIDS Alliance (US), International Commission of Jurists (Punjab) and Insaaf International (India) took part in the protest.

The protestors said 500 people and organisations have signed a petition to the President and Prime Minister of India, demanding prevention of the implementation of the Ordinance.

In the petition, the protestors also urged the Government to lead a coalition of developing countries to "resist WTO pressure" to change their laws, which may have a "devastating" effect on people and the environment.

In line with its WTO obligations, India on January 1 adopted the product patent regime for food, drugs and chemicals, and embedded software with adequate safeguards to protect the interests of the common man.

The Government introduced the product patent regime by amending the Patent Act by way of an Ordinance on December 26 and notifying rules on December 28.

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