Organisation Internationale de Droit du Développement

IDLO Supports India’s Decision to Protect Public Health

The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) welcomes the decision of India’s Supreme Court earlier this week to uphold a patent law that supports public health by protecting access to affordable generic medicines. IDLO supports the widest possible access to innovative health care and medicine, a fundamental human right, while recognizing the need to promote and protect innovation. 

IDLO strongly subscribes to article 7 of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, which states that measures to protect Intellectual Property should be implemented in a manner that allows states to safeguard public health. To ensure this, Intellectual Property laws should both promote genuine innovation, and make innovative medicines available to those who need them most.

India’s generics industry, frequently called the “pharmacy of the poor” because of its role supplying generics to low-and-middle-income countries’ has greatly reduced drug prices, most notably of HIV medicines. The ruling has the potential to set an important precedent for other developing countries. 

In the interest of ensuring access to medicines for the people most in need, IDLO believes IP should be used for the social and economic benefit of both IP holders and IP users. India’s decision strikes the right balance. 

For further information on IDLO or to interview Irene Khan, Director-General of IDLO, please contact: