India bats for generic drugs, seeks African support

Generic drugsCommerce Minister Anand Sharma Sunday said that India will resist any attempt made to malign the country's generic drugs industry as it provided a means for poor sections of the society to access cheap medicines. "There has been a major campaign by some countries which are going after multilateral regimes.... TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). If outside these multilateral forums a TRIPS plus plus approach is adopted, then India will resist it," Sharma said in his address to the eighth India-Africa Project Partnership Summit being held here March 18-20.

"There is a campaign to showcase generics as substandard; that they are not real. We are determined to ensure that poor people in my country and in Africa have access to these medicines." Sharma sought support from African leadership present in the forum including Zimbabwean Vice President Joice Mujuru and Prime Minister of Central African Republic Faustin Archange Touadera to stand by India on the issue. According to Sharma, Indian generic drugs have significantly brought down the medicine cost for treating major diseases like cancer and AIDS.

"They are doing nothing wrong. In US, American countries have the highest numbers of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals followed by Indian companies which have second highest approvals." "There was a flexibility meant for the developing countries... We will do it even for third and fourth generation drugs to fight pandemics like cancer. This is India's commitment and with us you are also secured in this sector."

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Sharma said that he has informed his counterparts from African nations that a state-run Indian pharmaceutical company has got a breakthrough in anti-malaria drug which has gone through extensive trials in India and is now undergoing trials in some of the African countries. It would be available within 60 days.

Source: IANS

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