Global Pharma Majors Stoop To Conquer, Only To be Hit Back

New Delhi, January 21: | Updated: Jan 22 2003, 05:30am hrs
Global pharmaceutical majors have apparently stooped to mud-slinging in the media against Indian and Brazilian firms to promote their interests, but the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), representing the domestic industry, has replied with a strong statement.

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA) director general Harvey Bale has accused India and Brazil of producing poor quality and counterfeit drugs in the international daily Financial Times. He also said that negotiators from these two countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO) would focus on looking for, "new escape hatches to allow the copying of the newly patented drugs after 2005. India has national commercial interest in expanding the scope of compulsory licensing of technology from patent holders to their local producers in the post-2005 period when the patent rules begin to take hold."

IPA responded by stating that such mud-slinging is due to the frustration of the US and European Union (EU) industry arising from the fact that African nations are not accepting their proposal to restrict the Doha declaration to a limited number of diseases.

At Doha, there was a compromise and all countries agreed to accept "public health problems" as more than just disease. It would apply to natural calamities, nuclear disasters and terrorist attacks as well. The US proposals were thus, unacceptable and unfair. IPA secretary-general DG Shah said, "when four persons die of anthrax, the US itself was ready to break the patent on ciprofloxacin and import the same as the country did not have the capacity to make sufficent quantities."

IPA has said that if the US and EU could interpret the Doha declaration to suit themselves, other countries were entitled to do so as well. On the issue of quality, Indian and Brazilian drugs have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only when required conditions have been met.