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16th February 2024 (9 Topics)

India has rejected demand for data exclusivity in drug development in FTA talks


The rejection of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) bloc’s demand for data exclusivity provision underscores India’s commitment to its thriving generic drug industry.

Understanding Data Exclusivity

  1. What Is Data Exclusivity?
    • Data exclusivity protects the clinical trial data of a pharmaceutical company for a specific drug.
    • During the exclusivity period, generic competitors cannot rely on the originator’s data to seek regulatory approval for equivalent drugs.
  2. TRIPS and Beyond:
    • The Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement sets the baseline for intellectual property protection.
    • India’s laws do not mandate data exclusivity, allowing flexibility in balancing innovation and accessibility.

Reasons for India’s Rejection of Data Exclusivity

  1. Protecting the Generic Industry:
    • Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal emphasized India’s unwavering support for its generic drug industry.
    • Rejecting EFTA’s demand, India stands by its commitment to affordable medicines.
  2. FTA Negotiations:
    • India is concurrently negotiating FTAs with the UK and the EU.
    • Both partners seek concessions beyond TRIPS commitments, but India remains steadfast in safeguarding its generic industry.


  • Global Pharmaceutical Landscape
  • India’s rejection sends a clear message: generic drug manufacturers matter.
  • The country’s role as the largest supplier of generics remains pivotal.
  • Affordable Healthcare
  • Access to affordable medicines, including life-saving treatments like HIV drugs, hinges on India’s thriving generic industry.

About Free Trade Agreement:

  • It is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to imports and exports among them.
  • Under a free trade policy, goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with little or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or prohibitions to inhibit their exchange.
  • The concept of free trade is the opposite of trade protectionism or economic isolationism.

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