India to push generic medicines at India-Africa Forum Summit

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New Delhi | Published: October 17, 2015 12:34:16 AM

India is going to use the India-Africa Forum Summit as a major platform to push its generic medicines, especially those that are meant to counter HIV/AIDS.

India is going to use the India-Africa Forum Summit as a major platform to push its generic medicines, especially those that are meant to counter HIV/AIDS.

According to MEA officials, currently, India supplies 85% of these anti-retroviral drugs to Africa to help fight AIDS, and during the summit meeting, leaders from both sides will brainstorm on ways to accelerate new preventive technologies for HIV/AIDS.

Pharmaceuticals remain one of the main Indian exports to Africa, making up around 16% of total exported items.

Indian pharma companies are the largest providers of generic medicine in the world, and African markets are a natural fit for these companies, which provide drugs that are often very price-competitive.

India maintains that its generics and its pharma industry are fully compliant with WTO’s TRIPS norms
Cipla chairman Yusuf Hameid is known for offering generic anti-retrovirals at $304  a year, or less than a dollar a day, when Pfizer was charging nearly $12,000 dollars per patient per annum. Similarly, in the case of tuberculosis and malaria, Indian firms and the government are trying to bring down the cost of vaccines. Cipla is also the largest supplier of anti-malarial drugs to Africa.

Ranbaxy Laboratories was the first pharmaceuticals firm to set up base on the continent, in 1977. Since then, other companies have followed suit and certain important drugs are nearly entirely supplied by Indian multinationals. It is estimated that there are around 22.5 million HIV-positive people in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ranbaxy, which is now South Africa’s fifth-largest pharmaceuticals company, opened a $30-million manufacturing facility — its second — west of Johannesburg in 2010.

The Pan-African e-Network Project, a joint collaboration between India’s government and the African Union, is the biggest project for distance education and tele-medicine ever undertaken in Africa.

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