UK trade negotiator accused of wrongdoing


As a result of his former pharmaceutical industry connections that they claim can undermine India’s ability to produce cheap generic drugs, more than 200 groups in the health, development, and human rights sector asked the UK’s chief negotiator to resign from the India-UK free trade talks.

A group from about 40 countries, including India, said the current chief negotiator, Harjinder Kang, who previously worked for a pharmaceutical company for nearly three decades, ran counter to the need for impartiality and independence. They expressed concern over a chapter leaking from the proposed FTA that appeared to represent the pharmaceutical industry’s “wish list” in a joint letter to British Trade Secretary Kimmy Badenoch.

The proposals include the following:

  • Ending the right to challenge allegedly unwarranted patents before drugs are granted.
  • Extending patent exclusivity beyond 20 years.
  • Reducing transparency on the status of patent applications.

Globally, approximately 20% of generic medicines are produced in India, 62% of vaccines are made in India, and 80% of anti-HIV drugs are produced in India. In their letter to Piyush Goyal, India’s minister of commerce and trade, the groups also warned that the proposed changes to patent rules could impact access to medicines worldwide.

“The measures that the UK is trying to enforce now will hurt India’s generic medicine industry and make it harder to access essential medicines in the UK and globally,” said Tim Bearley, pharma campaign manager at Global Justice Now, a UK-based non-governmental organization.

While fully complying with WTO rules, India’s current patent rules balance commercial interests with public health concerns. They said India had created an ecosystem of protected patents for truly revolutionary compounds while ensuring the timely generic competition that global health depends on.

According to K.M. Gopkumar, a lawyer and researcher at the Third World Network, a platform that tracks global trade and health issues, if the UK prevails with its intellectual property claims, India’s generic drug manufacturing capacity will be severely limited.

The demand for resignation follows earlier opposition to including strict intellectual property provisions in the FTA. On December, 35 British and Indian health organizations warned that drug prices for the UK National Health Service were under threat from FTAs.

Generic competition, primarily from India, has helped reduce the price of standard anti-HIV drugs by 99 per cent, from $10,000 in 2000 to less than $100 today, enabling the scale-up of treatment globally to cover more than 28 million people. Leading international health organizations, including the Global Fund and UNICEF, depend heavily on Indian generic drugs, the groups said.

Several groups from Asia, Africa, South America, Canada, the UK, and the US have also signed the letter, including the People’s Health Movement, the Third World Network, Knowledge Ecology International, and the Health Global Access Project.

About the author

Marta Lopez

I am a content writer and I write articles on sports, news, business etc.

By Marta Lopez


Get in touch

Content and images available on this website is supplied by contributors. As such we do not hold or accept liability for the content, views or references used. For any complaints please contact Use of this website signifies your agreement to our terms of use. We do our best to ensure that all information on the Website is accurate. If you find any inaccurate information on the Website please us know by sending an email to and we will correct it, where we agree, as soon as practicable. We do not accept liability for any user-generated or user submitted content – if there are any copyright violations please notify us at – any media used will be removed providing proof of content ownership can be provided. For any DMCA requests under the digital millennium copyright act
Please contact: with the subject DMCA Request.