GSK calls on UK to use G8 presidency to enforce patents

Graham McKerrow, HIV i-Base

London-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has called on the UK to use its presidency of the Group of Eight (G8) most industrialised countries to ensure that emerging economic powers such as China, India and Brazil respect patents and take action against counterfeiting.

“Globally the UK must work to deliver a level playing field by demanding respect for intellectual property rights in the countries that benefit most from globalisation: India, China and Brazil,” said GSK’s Chief Executive Jean-Pierre Garnier at a conference hosted by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown.

Garnier said China and India had made a start with new laws protecting intellectual property but he said they had a long way to go.

China, which has the fastest growing economy in the world and is expected to be among the biggest economies of the 21st century, had a slow patent system, poor enforcement and widespread counterfeiting, said Garnier.

He praised India for having made more progress with a new patents system this year but said the big pharmaceutical companies wanted greater protection for their data concerning new drugs. He held out the prospect that if India met the industry’s demands, it could become a major centre for pharmaceutical research and development. GSK had already agreed a partnership with India’s Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd for research collaboration. India has a large domestic drug industry and other leading multinationals are also entering working arrangements with Indian companies.

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