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NGOs urge Indian government to safeguard pharma interests from US pressure

NGOs urge Indian government to safeguard pharma interests from US pressure

A group of experts and NGOs is reported to have asserted and urged the Indian government not to succumb under the pressure of the American pharma monopolies a.k.a the US government. The issue under consideration is of the continued pressure on India’s generic manufacturing capacity; with persistency to change its pro-health patent and data protection laws.

Many experts and the NGOs believe that this demand is threatening the lives of millions in the developing world and asked the Indian government not to succumb to the demands.

The reason for holding this view is quite simple as experts and activists strongly hold the view that for ending global pandemics and achieving universal health coverage, we require affordable, high-quality drugs — the majority of which are produced in India.

In a joint statement, the Asia Pacific Network of People living with HIV/AIDS and Health GAP (Global Access Project) demanded the US immediately stop pressure on India to change its pro-health patent and data protection laws, which they warn would put realisation of health SDGs out of reach for much of the world and directly contradict the goals and targets being set at the UN.

The statement comes as world leaders gather in New York for adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“For millions of patients around the world, India is a lifeline for medicines,” said Shiba Phurailatpam, regional Co-ordinator of the Asia-Pacific Network of People living with HIV/AIDS.

“US pressure on India’s generic manufacturing capacity has escalated alarmingly in the past few years, threatening the lives and health of millions in the developing world,” she said.

The Sustainable Development Summit in New York will adopt 17 goals, including Goal 3 on health.

In the joint statement they alleged that at the behest of the US pharmaceutical industry, the Obama administration has been actively pressuring the Indian government to give up its fully legal use of flexibilities in World Trade Organisation’s TRIPS Agreement and threatening trade sanctions if the Modi government refuses.

“India has been the leading example globally of the most effective use of TRIPS flexibilities,” said Prof Brook Baker, senior Policy Analyst at the Health GAP.

“Over the next 15 years, the global community is setting ambitious goals to tackle communicable and non-communicable diseases. The experience of HIV has shown that getting 15 million on treatment by 2015 was achieved in large part thanks to generic competition and this is reflected in the SDGs,” he said.

“Without safe, effective and affordable generic medicines, there will be little hope of achieving the SDGs, which is why US pressure on India to cripple generics and to support big pharma monopolies is so out of step with the Administration’s statements at the UN today,” he said.

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    Source: PTI

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