Thursday, April 05, 2007

VJAS urged Indian Prime Minister to Reject the Report of the Technical Expert Group on Patent Law Issues


PH.2282447/457 MOBILE-9422108846.

REF: Patent Law Issues VERY-URGENT DATED- 4th APRIL,2007


Dr. Manmohan Singh

Hon'ble Prime Minister of India

The Prime Minister's Office

South Block, Raisina Hill,

New Delhi 110011
Tel: 91-11-23018939; Fax: 91-11-23019334

Re: Rejection of the Report of the Technical Expert Group on Patent Law Issues

Hon'ble Prime Minister,

We write to you to express our concern over the constantly changing stand of the Government on the Technical Expert Group on Patent Law Issues (Expert Group). We are disturbed to read media reports that the Ministry of Commerce has yet to take a firm stand on a report that has been withdrawn by the Head of the Expert Group, Dr. R.A. Mashelkar who has since resigned from the Group in the face of the plagiarism of key recommendations of the report. The plagiarism indicated not only the lack of integrity in the preparation and presentation of the report but more importantly the lack of application of mind on an issue that will affect the ability of millions of Indians to access life saving and life prolonging medication.

Plagiarism apart, the recommendations of the Expert Group have been widely criticized by public health experts, legal experts and even the domestic pharmaceutical industry because of its failure to reason its conclusions and its cursory dismissal of other provisions of the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration. The Terms of Reference of the Expert Group required it to submit an expert opinion on the issues referred to it.

Contrary to expectations of the Group, the Report did not even attempt to offer any legal analysis to justify its conclusions. Further, as per Dr. Mashelkar's letter withdrawing the Report, it abdicated its responsibility of drafting the Report—a task entrusted to it and it alone. The report was drafted by a Drafting Sub-Committee, whose membership is unknown, both to members of the public and Parliament.

The Expert Group was established as part of the commitment of the Indian Government to the representatives of the people over serious concerns of the impact of the new patent law on access to life saving medications for millions of Indians. At the heart of the issue is the obligation of the Indian government to ensure the right to life and health of its citizens.

The credibility and objectivity of the Expert Group has been seriously undermined and the stand of the Government can only be to reject it in totality. It is of grave concern that the Government is still considering whether to accept or adopt, even in part, any of the recommendations of the Expert Group. Accepting the report of the Committee whose moral and intellectual integrity is in grave doubt will only undermine the Governments own position and stand that it is to ensure medicines for all, a commitment it has repeatedly made at both national and international forums and is legally bound by.

We call upon the Government to immediately reject this Report and to refer the matter to the representatives of the people – the Indian Parliament, a Select Committee or any other Specialized Committee, which must ultimately ensure the right to life and health of all persons is fulfilled – an obligation in law far higher than any international agreement to protect commercial interests.


Kishor tiwari


Vidarbha jan andolan samiti

Nagpur-440 025

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