The long-awaited Patents Bill, incorporating all safeguards to protect national interest and ensure easy availability of drugs at affordable prices, was on Tuesday passed by Parliament with the Lok Sabha approving.
The Patents (Second Amendment) Bill, passed by Rajya Sabha on May 9, was adopted by a voice vote with Commerce Minister Murasoli Maran assuring the House that all safeguards recommended by the Joint Parliamentary Committee have been incorporated to protect national interest and public health.
The much delayed landmark bill was passed after all the amendments moved by CPI member Ajoy Chakraborty were negated.
Winding up a three-hour discussion, Maran said the bill does not contemplate introduction of product patent for which a third amendment bill would have to be brought before January one, 2005.
Allaying fears that the bill diluted earlier provisions compromising national security and public health concerns, he said government has designed a strong and modern IP Act.
The bill provides a wide-ranging and powerful weapon to the government to extinguish the patentees' exclusive right immediately and acquire it if the occasion warranted, he said.