According to The Economic Times, India is pressing its case with African governments in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria (among others) to NOT do anything that would potentially restrict access to cheaper generic drugs from India being imported to these countries for resale. Previously, anit-counterfeit legislation being considered in these nations was considered to be a potential threat to Indian imports.
Now after a significant education campaign through India's missions in Africa, the tide is turning. India is battling a sustained campaign by global pharma companies against Indian generics, or low-cost copies of medicines that may be under patent protection in some countries but not in India. MNCs have been successful in painting India drugs as counterfeits with some governments, notably Kenya. India’s case has been strengthened by the opposition to these legislations by the civil rights groups who have raised concern that the new law would deny cheap medicine to people.
“Indian missions have now been asked to work with civil society organizations who are trying to ensure that tight intellectual property norms do not hinder access to cheap medicines by the poor,” a commerce department official said, adding that such organizations are heavily networked and have a power of mobilizing opinion.
A survey by India’s health ministry showed that out of 24,000 samples of drugs collected from suppliers all over the country, only 11 samples were found to be sub-standard. The report will be sent to Indian embassies in Africa to further reinforce India’s position on the quality of its drugs.
Posted by Bruce Lehr September 20th 2010.