[Ip-health] Public interest groups ask Centre to reject lobbying by Obama administration against generics

Kajal Bhardwaj k0b0 at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 10 10:01:33 PST 2010

Public interest groups ask Centre to reject lobbying by Obama administration 
against generics
November 09, 2010, 0800 IST

Public interest groups in India have called upon the Centre to strongly reject 
the lobbying by the Obama administration and its industry organisation, the 
US-India Business Council, against the production of safe, effective and 
affordable generic medicines in India. 

In the last few years, developing countries have been subjected to aggressive 
lobbying by the US government as well as US industrial groups especially in the 
context of the economic crisis. Much of the efforts of the US administration in 
the recent past have involved dealing out its burdens of the economic crisis to 
other countries and to bail out the ailing US economy. US President Barack 
Obama’s visit to India should be seen in this backdrop. One of the major areas 
where the US is lobbying is on pharmaceuticals, the groups claimed.
“For years, the US government has acted on behalf of its pharmaceutical industry 
in pushing aggressive intellectual property protection across the world 
regardless of its impact on access to medicines for millions of patients. As a 
candidate Obama had promised to break the stranglehold of drug companies on life 
saving medicines. It seems this promise is long forgotten,” said Dr Gopal Dabade 
of All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN). 

The US government lobbying against generic medicines and against the ‘sovereign 
right’ of countries to provide access to medicines has increased. The United 
States Trade Representative has again this year cited India on its priority 
watch list for the health safeguards in India’s law that allow greater generic 
competition. The US embassy in India is also involved in active lobbying against 
generic medicines in India while US judges are making appearances at industry 
funded events to promote greater intellectual property protection, the groups 

“Last year we saw first hand the manner in which the US government is lobbying 
for the US based multinational pharmaceutical industry. The US embassy’s IPR 
attaché representing the United States Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO) 
tied up with US company Pfizer to tell us how intellectual property was not the 
problem in access to medicines,” said Loon Gangte of Delhi Network of Positive 
People (DNP+). “They probably don’t realise that people living with HIV cannot 
be fooled with this argument since we all witnessed how US companies used their 
patent monopolies to charge $10,000 per patient per year for AIDS medicines and 
refused to provide them in the developing world.” he 

The United States is also the driving force behind the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade 
Agreement (ACTA), a secretly negotiated trade agreement between the US, Europe 
and a few other countries. The Indian government has already been objecting to 
this secret treaty, including at the TRIPS Council, the groups said. 

Obama’s close links with the US-India Business Council are also a matter to 
grave concern. According to HealthGap, a US based group working on access to 
medicines: “the US-India Business Council (USIBC) is an initiative hosted by the 
US Chamber of Commerce, the massive U.S. corporate interest and lobbying 
group…The USIBC has been used by Big Pharma as a bully pulpit from which to 
pressure India to adopt TRIPS-plus protection of intellectual property rights 
for medicines,” it said.
The US government wants India to roll back the few health safeguards it has in 
its law to provide access to medicines. 

“The Indian Government faces a difficult test this week as the US President 
lobbies for his pharmaceutical companies while negotiations on the EU-India FTA 
continue in Brussels where the EU, also acting on behalf of its pharmaceutical 
industry is making similar demands of the Indian government,” said M R Santhosh 
of the Centre for Trade and Development (Centad). “The Indian government must 
strongly reject this lobbying and pressure by the US President and the European 
Commission,” he said.



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