martes, 7 de agosto de 2012

Compañias farmacéuticas ponen salud de los pobres en riesgo.

India is often called the pharmacy of the developing world, which is no great surprise as more than 50% of its $10bn annual generic medicine production is exported.

But the domestic drug industry behind India's role as global pharmacist stands to emerge rather poorly from the free trade agreement (FTA) that Europe is proposing for India. In late-stage negotiations over the terms of the long-awaited agreement, the EU is calling for intellectual property rights enforcement that goes well beyond India's obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation and would make it all but impossible for generic drug manufacturers in the country to continue in their present structure.

This could delay the introduction of cheaper medicines in India and elsewhere at a time when the global financial crisis has already put the squeeze on life-saving medicines across the world (last year the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria cancelled its 11th funding round due to the crisis).


Next month, the supreme court of India will hear final arguments in a long-running case between Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis and the Indian government. Novartis is seeking extended intellectual property protection for a marginally modified anti-cancer drug, Glivec, for which the original patent has run out. This is a practice known as evergreening, seen by many as an unfair way for pharmaceutical companies to maintain artificially high drug prices in developing markets. That is certainly the view of the Indian government, which, in 2005, inserted a clause into its intellectual property law deliberately intended to prevent the practice.

That clause has proven to be a literal lifesaver many times since, and it ensured that Novartis's original case was thrown out of court in 2006. But Novartis has filed new litigation in an attempt to breach India's legal defences. The final ruling is next month and there is every chance Novartis may succeed. If it does, other pharmaceutical companies will be able to impose higher prices on drugs in India too.

The Novartis case coincides with a third major assault on India's pharmaceutical industry: the final spear in a triple-pronged attack on its generic drug manufacturers by the west. (Más)

Ver también:

NOVARTIS / Glivec: Fronteras a "Medicos sin fronteras"

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