[Ip-health] US drug lobby to meet key Indian govt officials this week
rob at essential.org
Thu Oct 21 18:54:46 PDT 2010
US drug lobby to meet key govt officials this week
Joe C Mathew / New Delhi
October 21, 2010
Representatives of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of
America (PHRMA) — the powerful drug lobby of US-based drug
multinationals — are planning a series of high-level meetings with key
central government officials in Delhi this week.
The meeting comes against the backdrop of a move by the Department of
Industrial Policy and Promotion (Dipp) to explore the possibilities of
issuing compulsory licences to domestic drug manufacturers to make
low-cost versions of patented essential medicines available.
While PHRMA sources termed the scheduled meetings as “routine”, civil
society groups see this as a move meant to “stall” the process of
In an open letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today, 13 civil
society groups wanted the government to go ahead with plans to increase
the accessibility of essential medicines to common man.
In a joint response on September 29, PHRMA and its European counterpart
had said that a policy to encourage compulsory licences on intellectual
property would be counter-productive for the domestic drug industry. It
also said Dipp’s discussion note on the topic contained several
inaccurate and misleading statements that need rectification.
Of the 30 responses received by Dipp on its discussion note, at least 10
support the PHRMA views. The world’s biggest drug firm Pfizer, which had
submitted a similar opinion in its individual capacity initially, had
later withdrawn its response.
According to industry officials, the PHRMA delegation will meet
officials in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), as well as the
ministries of health and chemicals during October 21-22. The team is
also expected to express its concern over some suggestions made by the
parliamentary panel on the need to restrict foreign takeovers of Indian
Incidentally, the demands raised by the foreign drug manufacturers
through the Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India before PMO
got rejected after the nodal department Dipp shot down those proposals
to make Indian patent laws more stringent.
The open letter from civil society groups such as All India Peoples
Science Network, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and All India Drug Action Network
wanted the government to put a cap on foreign direct investment on the
ownership of pharma companies. It also wanted liberal use of compulsory
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