WHO settles India, EU medicine dispute issue. In a meeting on November 24, 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) settled a long standing dispute and battle between India and the European Union (EU) about labeling of drugs by clarifying that ‘counterfeit’— will now be used by member States with respect to protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). This decision to drop the term ‘counterfeit’and retain ‘falsified’ to describe medicines of inferior quality was taken by a WHO’s technical working group on draft to find a perfect definitions of substandard/spurious /falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products.
iii. Under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the term counterfeit was defined as willful infringement of trademark on a commercial scale. However in reality, counterfeit drugs often have nothing to do with drug quality and substandard medicines.
iv. The major European and US pharmaceutical companies used the term to stop Indian made cheap generic drugs exported to other countries by showing that they were in violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). They were using increased enforcement of IP laws as a tool to stop the legitimate trade in high-quality generic medicines between developing countries especially India.
v. The term falsified much clearly describes issues related with public health concerns regarding medicines. It easily describes the false claims regarding what medicines contain or where they are from, which is a bigger public health problem for developing countries.
♦ The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.
♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Head: Margaret Chan
♦ Founded: April 7, 1948