Granting a longer term for pharmaceutical patents will result in delays in the entry of generic versions and could adversely affect access to medicines
A proposal to further extend the already 20-year-long patent term for pharmaceuticals is on the negotiation table of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). As India negotiates the RCEP, a free trade agreement that can change the intellectual property (IP) landscape of its member countries, this week, we need to look closely at the proposal in the broader context of how the term of protection for IP rights has increased steadily over the years. More so for the generic pharmaceutical companies in India that manufacture patented drugs after the expiry of the patent term. Any extension of the patent term will adversely affect access to the cheaper medicines that they manufacture.