EU India Would Sign LOU To Protect Off Patent Generic Drug Consignments

Indian off-patent generic drug consignments have been confiscated by some European countries customs authorities in the past for violation of intellectual property rights (IPRs).

Interestingly, these consignments were never intended to be delivered in any of the European country. Rather they were using Europe as a transit alone and the final destination was some other non European country.

Now it has been agreed that European Union (EU) members will not seize Indian medicines passing through Europe on the ground of violation of IPRs. EU has sent a final draft in this regard to India and India has agreed to the changes in their rules. EU has also accepted India’s stand and within two weeks, both the sides will exchange a formal “Letter of Understanding” (LOU) regarding this.

As per the understanding, none of the customs authorities in the 27-nation EU bloc will confiscate any drug dispatch meant for third country destinations like Latin America or Africa. Some of the EU customs authorities, mainly the Netherlands and France, had confiscated several Indian off-patent generic drug consignments going to Brazil via European ports and airports over alleged infringement of EU IPRs. Reacting to confiscation, India and Brazil had filed a case against the EU in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) protesting the action.

India had argued that such seizures were against the 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.

This LOU would bring positive development for IPRs cooperation between EU and India that had been strained in the past. Now EU India trade and IPRs cooperation is improving and this step endorses the same.