[Ip-health] The Wire: India Must Resist US Pressure on Generic Drugs, African Leaders to Tell Modi

Baker, Brook b.baker at neu.edu
Tue Oct 27 06:19:34 PDT 2015

Whatever one thinks about Gilead¹s hepatitis C DAA license, it¹s hard to
say that 99% price reductions from US prices are not significant and it is
also hard to ignore that there are already the beginnings of price
competition between the multiple licensees leading to lower prices.
Volume will need to increase for producers to begin to reach economies of
scale and the number of generic producers needs to increase but there
surely are the seeds of further price reductions rather than the
guaranteed higher profits discussed in the last paragraph of the article,
especially Gilead does not set minimum pricing terms for these licensees.

Professor Brook K. Baker
Northeastern University School of Law
416 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(w) 617-373-3217
(c) 617-259-0760
(f) 617-373-5056
b.baker at neu.edu
Skype:  brook_baker

On 10/27/15, 5:10 AM, "Ip-health on behalf of Shailly Gupta"
<ip-health-bounces at lists.keionline.org on behalf of
shailly.gupta at geneva.msf.org> wrote:

>So far, the NDA government has been a mute spectator to the US pharma
>strategy of forcing Indian generics manufacturers to produce only what is
>required for Indian consumers and abandon the export of cheap drugs to
>In his ŒMann ki baatŒ radio show on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi
>proudly spoke about how India will host 54 heads of state from Africa for
>the first time to reinforce ³our nation¹s historical and cultural links¹
>with African countries.
>However, invoking this very spirit, the visiting African leaders will
>place before the Prime Minister an issue of life and death for their
>peoples in which India can play a critical role ­ the export of cheap and
>affordable generic medicines for the cure of AIDS and other deadly
>diseases. The African heads of state will urge Modi to resist growing
>pressure from the United States government and Western drug
>multinationals on India to stop exporting cheap generics to Africa.
>Kenya¹s ambassador in India, Florence Imisa Weche told this writer in an
>interview for RSTV that the issue of affordable medicine imports from
>India ­ especially for treating AIDS ­ is a matter of great concern for
>African nations. Weche indicated that the visiting African leaders will
>urge Modi not to dilute India¹s current status as the ³Pharmacy of the
>Third World² 
>generic-drug-wars.html>. This comes after the South African health
>minister expressed similar apprehensions
>orried-about-india-caving-in-to-big-pharma> a few months ago. The
>India-Africa summit will provide an opportunity to address this question.
>The US pharma lobby wants India to limit the production of affordable
>generics to only what is required for Indian consumers under a ³voluntary
>licensing scheme² 
>eloping-world-11546/> and not produce drugs for third country patients.
>Some Indian companies, lured by higher profits, are already striking cosy
>deals with US pharma giants. The NDA government has shown a tendency to
>assist this collaboration through the back door, by signalling its
>willingness to dilute India¹s pro-public health intellectual property
>policy which has been widely hailed in the developing world. India¹s
>existing policy has enabled the price of HIV drugs to fall 99% ­ from
>$10,000 per person per year in 2000 to $100 per year today. Other
>diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis and malaria which afflict millions
>of people in Africa also need affordable generic medicines exported from
>The Modi government has publicly said that it is not willing to dilute
>India¹s IPR law ­ whose provisions on compulsory licensing and the
>Œevergreening¹ of patents make it difficult for Western pharma companies
>to earn super-profits from essential formulations ­ but at the same time
>it has made some non-transparent moves
>ellect...es-of-India-Mobile-Site%E2%80%9D.pdf> like setting up a
>committee to look at the implementation of the IPR guidelines, especially
>in the pharma sector. Prime Minister Modi had publicly assured American
>CEOs in President Obama¹s presence in India last January that he would
>³address all their concerns on Intellectual Property Rights².
>This assurance had caused apprehension about the NDA¹s continued
>commitment to the current IPR policy. There is a fear that the law may
>remain the same but cumbersome procedural guidelines could make it
>costlier for domestic pharma companies to export cheap drugs to other
>developing countries.
>Inspite of the big boost for a pro-public health policy which the Supreme
>Court delivered through its judgement against the US MNC Novartis some
>years ago, it appears American and other Western pharma companies have
>mounted a massive offensive against their Indian rivals through clever,
>procedural tweaking. So far, the NDA government has been a mute spectator.
>For instance, a US multinational company, Gilead, launched an
>anti-Hepatitis C drug and entered into a deal with seven Indian companies
>to make the drug cheaper, but still unaffordable, thus offering higher
>profits to the Indian counterparts. The Indian pharma companies agreed to
>be co-opted because the alternative would be to get into long drawn and
>costly litigation against Gilead in order the make the same drug much
>cheaper in India ­ both for Indian patients and for export to developing
>regions like Africa. Given the critical importance of affordable drugs,
>it could be argued that a pro-active government ought to help its
>domestic pharma industry in the litigation process and even put price
>caps on such life saving drugs to ensure that public health objectives
>are met. This is precisely what the African heads of State will be urging
>Modi to do.
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>Ip-health at lists.keionline.org

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