The Indian government says multinational companies are running “a concerted campaign” against its generics industry.
Certain pieces of anti-counterfeiting legislation and seizures at European ports have raised suspicions in India that there are deliberate efforts to limit the spread of generics. Now an Indian government minister has spoken of an alleged smear campaign.
“A concerted campaign against Indian pharma industry has been launched by MNCs whose interests are getting adversely impacted due to increasing global presence of Indian pharma companies”, Shri Anand Sharma, Indian minister of industry and commerce, said.
In response India has begun a promotional campaign to present itself as ‘Pharmacy of the World’. A central element of the push, which began at CPhI Japan in March, is to show generic drugs produced in India are as the same quality as their Western innovator counterparts.
Africa is another focus. India has previously spoken out against Kenyan anti-counterfeiting legislation which it says blurs the lines between generic, substandard, and counterfeit drugs. Last month a court in Kenya gave generics firms a boost but the government still wants to improve its image in Africa.
Fears about the reputation of Indian drugs in India intensified in 2009 when counterfeit drugs with the label ‘Made in India’ were found in Nigeria. The Indian high commission in Nigeria said testing showed the drugs were produced and packaged in China.
India oversees China
India called on China to take “stringent action” against the counterfeiters. Since then it has also increased its oversight of Chinese manufacturers, particularly of bulk drugs, which import into India.
“The Indian Central Drugs Standard Control Organization has so far inspected ten Chinese bulk drugs manufacturing firms. Following the inspections, the Registration Certificate of one firm and sixteen Import Licenses have been cancelled”, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Indian minister for health, said.