, Singapore

Rise in Indian medicine exports may cause patent woes in Australia: Fitch

India's weak IP laws could be an issue for drug manufacturers in Australia.

Generic medicine exports from India could exacerbate intellectual property (IP) problems in Australia due to weak patent law enforcement, Fitch Solutions, a credit rating agency, warned.

The warning stemmed from the pharmaceutical trade between India and Australia following the bilateral trade agreement signed on 2 April. This trade aims to raise generic medicine access from India to Australia, which will back Australia’s cost-containment measures.

Whilst the trade deal will back Australia’s cost-containment measures, weak IP laws could be an issue for drug manufacturers in Australia.

“India is a country with much weaker patent laws, and therefore generic medicines produced in the country carry high risks of patent infringements,” Fitch Solutions explained.

Aside from this, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Special 301 Report also showed that patent law implementation in Australia is still weak. The country also does not have a system in which patent holders receive advance notice of applications for marketing approval of potentially patent-infringing products.

The lack of adequate patent holder notification increases the risks of marketing products that are potentially still covered by a patent, creating significant concerns for patent rights holders in the country. 

On the bright side, Fitch Solutions said there are still opportunities for multinational drugmakers in Australia. Even if the patented drugs’ share of the Australian market will continue to be weakened by generic drugs, it underscored that the Australian market will offer attractive commercial opportunities for drugmakers.

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