India Abandons The Demand For Establishment Of Dispute Settlement Panel At WTO

European Union (EU) and India have confronted each other on the issue of Generic Drugs shipments in the past. Indian Generic Drug consignments have been confiscated by some European Countries customs authorities in the past for violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

Reacting sharply, India and Brazil filed a case against the EU in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) protesting the action. India contented that such seizures were against the provisions of multilateral Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS Agreement), as the medicines were off-patent both in India and the country where they were being exported.

Even some unpleasant speculations like removal of India from Generalised Systems of Preferences (GSP) Scheme of EU, disagreements over TRIPS Plus provisions vis-à-vis IPRs, issues of Data Exclusivity, etc also surfaced. However, all these issues were amicable settled between India and EU.

The best shot came when EU India expressed their desire to sign a Letter of Understanding (LOU) to fairly deal with Off Patent Generic Drug Consignments. Now a LOU has been signed between EU India in this regard.

According to the Understanding, so long as the EU and its Member States adhere to the principles contained in the Understanding with respect to generic drugs in transit through the EU, India has assured the EU that India will not request the establishment of a Dispute Settlement Panel at the WTO. With the exchange of these letters, India and the EU have reached, for the present, an informal settlement of this dispute.

India would watch with interest EU’s further steps in implementing its commitments. India’s options to revive the dispute remain intact in case the EU does not abide by the core principles agreed to in the Understanding.