Generic distress

As India makes a move towards a comprehensive policy to fix limits on unbranded generic drugs from October 2, a German MNC has warned major Nairobi based companies including Phillips Pharmaceuticals with legal action if they continue to buy generic drugs, which are available at a cheaper rate

Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), in an arm-twisting strategy akin to major Pharma players in the world market in a move to protect their interests, claims it has created nevirapine and nevirapine hemihydrate sold commercially as Viramune and buying these generic drugs in East-Africa, majority manufactures are Indian firms, is a clear violation of patent rights.

Cipla, one of the major companies exporting anti-retrovirals from India, is treating 1 in 3 HIV infected people in Africa. Ranbaxy is also a major exporter to this region.

The economic conditions in Africa make it difficult for expensive patented versions of the drug to be affordable to a large section of the affected populace. This is where the generic drugs, priced at a relatively low cost, are important to the very survival of HIV affected individuals. Nevirapine is an important first-line HIV drug used in combination with other anti-retrovirals, and generic versions of the drug provide an affordable option as against the patented drugs.

A majority of pharma companies initiate drug development solely with the purview of financial gain, welfare and cure being a secondary concern. It is absolutely necessary for a company to protect its IPR interests, but with reasonable negotiations a package could have been made to make sure that vital drugs are available to the poor people.

The situation in Africa is worsening by the day; millions are infected by the dreaded HIV virus. It is a humane responsibility that we provide the necessary treatments at affordable costs or the purpose of research fails miserably.

Kudos to the Indian government for its initiative via the Pharmaceutical policy, in bringing down the prices of unbranded generic drugs, which previously had no limits, so that the costs would be reduced to about 60% of the original, facilitating proper health care for millions. Some of the Pharma Cos have agreed to voluntarily impose margins of 35%for retail and 15%for wholesale.

In this business of making and distributing drugs it is imperative that the people who require these the most are not forgotten.


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  • 7 comments

    1. Anil says:

      interesting blog thanks for the links.
      I didnot know about the Indian policy guess we got something right!

    2. nessi says:

      Why you doin this …you already have a blog rolling…….
      either you have way too much time or you plain crazy …
      n iguess its the 2nd option … get some sleep bro….

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