Pharmaceutical Companies Putting Health of World’s Poor at Risk
By Simon Reid-Henry and Hans Lofgren
July 26, 2012
India, a major exporter of generic medicine to the developing world, is facing attacks from pharmaceutical firms backed by the European Union (EU) and the US. In the free trade agreement (FTA) proposal, the EU is calling for intellectual property rights enforcement that could be detrimental for generic drug manufacturers in India. US government has backed the German pharmaceutical company Bayer to revoke the compulsory license for an Indian firm, Natco Pharma to produce cheaper version of its anti-cancer drug. Western politicians are acting to secure the profitability of their own industries as a way out of domestic crisis, while the poor people around the world are losing access to life saving medicines.
India makes cheap medicines for poor people around the world. The EU, pharmaceutical firms and now the US are pressuring the ’pharmacy of the developing world’ to change tack
India is often called the pharmacy of the developing world, which is no great surprise as more than 50% of its $10bn annual generic medicine production is exported.
But the domestic drug industry behind India’s role as global pharmacist stands to emerge rather poorly from the free trade agreement (FTA) that Europe is proposing for India. In late-stage negotiations over the terms of the long-awaited agreement, the EU is calling for intellectual property rights enforcement that goes well beyond India’s obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation and would make it all but impossible for generic drug manufacturers in the country to continue in their present structure.