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Changes to India's patent law may deny cheap drugs to millions

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 24 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:692
  1. Ganapati Mudur
  1. New Delhi

India's proposed changes to its 35 year old patent laws will deny inexpensive generic drugs to millions of people in India and other developing countries, international humanitarian agencies and health activists have warned.

This week the Indian parliament has been debating amendments to patent laws that will introduce product patents on drugs, as part of India's obligations under an international agreement on intellectual property rights and trade.

India's patent act of 1970 granted patents on chemical processes but did not permit patents on drugs. This allowed Indian drug companies to reverse engineer molecules to produce generic versions of patented drugs. …

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