The Indian Protection and Utilisation of Public Funded Intellectual Property Bill, 2008 : does it secure access to medicines?11 Aug 2016
In the last decade, governments of different countries have promulgated or considered legislation aimed at promoting collaboration between research institutions, namely, universities and other national research councils and industries to ensure that public or government-funded research conducted at these research institutions feeds into industries’ needs, and lead to the manufacture of tangible products. These laws require research institutions to transfer technologies they develop to industry for further development, translation into tangible products, and commercialisation. In India, given the high level of research and development (R&D) and manufacturing capacity in the biopharmaceutical technology sector, this model could play a significant role in boosting local innovation and entrepreneurship. Furthermore, considering the high burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases currently prevalent in India, the need for such a strategic approach to optimise research output cannot be overemphasised. This paper therefore examines the Protection and Utilisation of Public Funded Intellectual Property Bill, 2008 (the Bill) tabled before the Rajya Sabha in 2008 and its potential impact on access to medicines manufactured out of government-funded research, by analysing some of its main provisions. The paper posits that some of these provisions do not seem to tally with the laudable aim of the Bill.