International aid groups have slammed India's passage of a new patent law, saying it will make drugs more expensive for millions of people in the world suffering from diseases like AIDS.
The upper house of Indian parliament approved the bill on Wednesday, a day after a similar action by the lower house. India needs tougher pharmaceutical patent laws to fulfill its commitment to the World Trade Organization, which in turn has promised to enhance India's participation in global trade.
International aid and health groups say the new law will curb the supply of cheap generic drugs to impoverished nations, threatening the survival of AIDS and cancer patients there. The older law allowed Indian drug makers to copy patented drugs as long as they used a different manufacturing process.