India’s IPR regime: reconciling affordable access with patent protection

Even as India-US trade (in both goods and services) has progressed towards the $100 billion mark, 2013-14 witnessed the emergence of a number of issues which adversely impacted the climate for bilateral trade and investment. Of these, none has been more contentious than the question of India’s IPR regime for pharmaceutical products. This report traces the genesis of India’s IPR policy in the pharma sector from Independence up to the present. Given the vast requirement for public health provisions for a large and economically disadvantaged population, India’s policymakers have sought to balance incentives for IPRs against the need for greater affordability and wider accessibility of pharma products. With the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases, this challenge has only intensified.