New Delhi: The government on Thursday said India, like several other countries, is for striking a balance between the patent rights of the pharmaceutical companies and ensuring affordable health.

Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Saurabh Chandra said this in reference to the government recently allowing Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma to produce cancer treatment drug ‘Nexavor´, patented to Bayer Ltd of Germany.

Patients at the Head and Neck Cancer Out Patient department of Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. Bloomberg

The IPO invoked a provision in the India’s patent laws which are in line with the TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The mechanism is known as the ‘Compulsory Licensing´ (CL).

“While this is a first ever CL issued in India, I would like to reassure you that India is not being different in any way. The international IP regime that exists today provides enough flexibility to model a domestic legal framework to the local conditions that exist within a country.

“Not only India but every other country, including developed counties such as the US and the EU have to and are striking a balance between private rights and public good such as affordable health as well as economic growth," the DIPP secretary said at the award function of the national intellectual property (IP), organised by the CII here.

The grant of CL to Natco Pharma had raised concerns among some multi-national companies which argue that such an action by the government would discourage the R&D in health sector.