India Threatens European Union: ‘Don’t Stop Flow of Illegal Drugs’

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India’s Commerce Ministry drew attention to the “plight” of producers of infringing copies of vaccines last week, highlighting a need to quell the dangers of swine flu, whose vaccine is in legal development and as we speak (WHO Link):

[Indian Company] Cipla has produced a generic version of the antiviral drug Tamiflu for sale to developing countries but no one, including India itself [emphasis added], has so far been willing to buy it, either because of financial constraints or concerns over violating intellectual property laws.

 The Financial Times does an excellent job of explaining the “request” :

Myth One: The World is So Challenged by Swine Flu, It Should Allow the Unapproved, Illegal Flow of Drugs:

“When the world is being challenged in another area, by swine flu, India is one of the countries that has been mandated by the World Health Organisation as ­having the capacity to develop vaccine along with other major countries,” Mr Sharma told the Financial Times on a visit to Seoul.

Myth Two: India is Producing Illegal Drugs Out of Own Heart to Meet Global Health Needs:

Mr Sharma’s comments are an escalation of a dispute over protectionism between India and one of its main trading partners… India’s pharmaceutical industry is one of the sectors of India’s fast-growing economy worst hit by the global economic downturn.

Myth Three: India Is Trying to Solve the Problem:

India’s commerce ministry declined to say when it might file a complaint at the WTO against the EU over drugs seizures… “[A resolution with the EU] might be in the process through discussions. But as of now we have no reason to change our stand,” said Rajeev Kher, a joint secretary of commerce.

This story is courtesy of the Financial Times. In order to access the article, you must register (free).

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