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India, Brazil to move WTO against EC over drug seizure issue

October 9th, 2009

WTOIndia and Brazil will jointly file a complaint with the WTO against the European Commission for seizure of drug consignments of Indian pharma companies, including Dr Reddy’s and Aurobindo at various European ports.

“India has compiled a legal brief to challenge the ad hoc decision taken by the Netherlands at the WTO. We have consulted Brazil on the matter and they will join in with us. Both will file the complaint against the European Commission in WTO,” a commerce ministry official said.

In separate incidents in February and March, the Netherlands had confiscated blood pressure control and anti- HIV drugs going to Brazil, Columbia and Nigeria on grounds of alleged patent infringement. The consignments were sent by Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharmaceuticals.

The country has also raised this matter with EC at different levels, the official said, adding that India had recently taken up the issue with the EU trade commissioner Catherine Ashton during her visit to New Delhi to attend an informal WTO ministerial meeting in September.

India’s $12-billion domestic pharma industry, gets 40 per cent of its revenue from exports of generic drugs across the world.

Any WTO member country can approach WTOs dispute settlement body to resolve their trade quarrels.

According to the European Commission, if a consignment of drugs is not patented either in the country of origin or its final destination, it can be confiscated.

India has objected to this, saying the agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) allows exports as EU countries were not the destination.

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