MNCs Deprive India Of Vital Drugs Despite Getting Monopoly Rights

Monday, December 1, 2014

Some multinational companies (MNCs) have been delaying the launch of life-saving drugs in India years after getting monopoly rights, while cheaper generic versions of exorbitantly-priced medicines are going off the shelves under the product patenting law.

Corporates such as Japanese firm Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, US-based Bristol Myers-Squibb (BMS) and Swiss firm Novartis are deferring the launch of medicines critical for treatment of serious non-communicable diseases like cancer, HIV, hepatitis C and TB.

“MNCs keep prices of their breakthrough treatments unaffordable for many in India, and in certain cases delay the launch here, worried that the country may become a good example of reference pricing for others to follow,” a public health activist said. These MNCs target the more lucrative mature markets as against treating those in the developing world.

For instance, a scrutiny of regulatory documents made available to TOI by legal experts reveal how Otsuka, which has a patent for delamanid since December 2011, has not imported even a single pack into India yet. The drug, used to treat multi-drug-resistant (MDR) TB, has not been imported in enough quantities even for the mandated local trials. This, even as WHO estimates that India is home to the most number of MDR-TB patients in the world.

Source: The Economic Times (link opens in a new window)

Health Care