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In an unexpected development, the Indian government has supposedly agreed to restrict compulsory licenses that allow generic drug makers to make low-cost versions of brand-name medicines, according to documents filed by two business groups with the US Trade Representative’s Office.

The disclosure represents a potentially significant victory for global drug makers, which have complained that successive Indian governments have favored India’s domestic pharmaceutical industry at their expense. Compulsory licenses allow generic companies to manufacture copycat drugs without the consent of the brand-name drug maker that owns the patent.


“Industry continues to be concerned by the potential threat of compulsory licensing,” the US Chamber of Commerce wrote to the US Trade Rep, which each April issues a report that features a Priority Watch list of countries singled out for failing to protect and enforce patent rights. India is a perennial.

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