Saturday, 31 August 2013

Indian generic companies lash out at US pharma biggie

At a time when domestic generic medicines are helping the developed world to slash healthcare costs, big pharma has lashed out at indian manufactruers. The remarks made by chairman of one of the world’s largest companies, Sanofi Aventis, attacking domestic generic companies for exporting drugs, has created a furore. Infuriated, the industry has asked the government to step in and register their protest at an appropriate forum. Recently, Jean-Francois Dehecq, chairman of French firm Sanofi-Aventis, citing India as an example has criticised generic companies for exporting drugs rather than selling them locally. He’s been reported as saying in the media, “They make (drugs) cheaply and bring them to the North for people who can already pay. It is a scandal. They are exploiting people in the South. They should deal with their own countries first.” Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance secretary general, DG Shah, told Times of India: “This statement is indicative of the mindset of the big pharma that the third world nations should not look at them for access to medicine. It conveys a message to the trade negotiators that the developing countries like India, Brazil and Indonesia should not look at the West as a market for their generic products.” The industry has countered the charges saying that they are baseless. It has said in a letter to the commerce secretary that the domestic industry has not only made indian manufacturer self-sufficient for most of its medicines requirement but also emerged as a major source of supply for the developing countries. Such statements, if not challenged, hurt the interest of the domestic industry, it adds. One of the major generic manufacturers, Cipla’s joint MD Amar Lulla said “This (statement) reflects the insecurity of the big pharma towards India.” Generic drugs are copies of patented medicines and are sold in certain cases at even onetenth of the prices of the branded but offpatent drugs. The domestic industry wants to sensitise government to the attitude of the big pharma, whom it wants to “please through a trade related aspects of intellectual property rights plus IPR regime.” Sanofi-Aventis has two manufacturing units in India, both of which have been identified as global sourcing units, and its Indian operations recorded export revenues of 30% of its total sales in 2005