Barak Obama Urged to be generic –Generous for Global Patients

US civil society groups urge Obama to support India’s generic forte

Barak Obama Urged to be generic –Generous for Global Patients

New Delhi, January 28:  In the wake of concerns triggered by joint Obama- Modi statement, US health groups have urged Obama to be ‘generic – generous’ for patients all over the world. The groups have appealed him to support India keep up providing ‘high-quality, low-cost generic medicines essential for health care around the world’.

Leading US health coalitions namely AVAC, Oxfam America, amfAR, Health Global Access Project (GAP), TAG (Treatment Action Group) and many others have written to Obama to support India’s generic generosity to continue touching lives of global patients rather than batting for profit –propelled drug MNCs. They have expected global ‘ObamaCare’ from him.

Analyzing the fine prints of India-USA having agreed in New Delhi bilateral talks to enhance engagement on IPR (intellectual property rights), these organizations have expressed fears that US might pressure India to push in favor of Pharma MNCs pitching strongly for patent protection of their pharma products in India.

The joint statement released after Modi-Obama talk on Sunday said that the two countries expressed interest in sharing information and best practices on IPR, and reaffirmed commitment to stakeholders’ consultations on related policy matters.

In the joint letter to Obama, these civil society groups have said, ‘ Instead of using your trip to promote the narrow interests of one segment of the pharmaceutical industry, we ask you to support the interests of people who need affordable medicines, whether they live in the US, in India, in Africa or elsewhere.’

Previous actions on this score have raised doubts about US administration’s intention. Not long ago the US brought out the Special 301 report taking unilateral step to pressure countries to accept IPR protection beyond WTO obligations. This report classified India as a priority watch list country, underlining concerns relating to Indian patent law, grant of compulsory license and inclusion of a statement relating to CL for green technologies in India’s manufacturing policy.

Civil society groups letter further criticize US drug policy. It says,’
Recent US policy stances have sought to topple parts of India’s intellectual property regime that protect public health to advance interests of multinational pharmaceutical corporations in longer, stronger, and broader exclusive patent and related monopoly rights.’

India is playing a Good Samaritan for global patients by manufacturing and exporting low cost generic medicines. India’s domestic pharmaceutical industry exported low cost generic drugs worth $14.84 billion in the 2013-14. In addition to in US, many other countries’ poor patients subsist on cheap Indian generic drugs.  India’s ‘generic generosity’ has been a lingering thorn in Pharma MNCs flesh and they are trying hard to stall India in its generic track.

Drug policy experts say that bilateral talks between India and US on the sidelines of Obama’s India visit hold wide ramifications for Indian Pharma industry as well as multitude of global patients. India is
currently in the process of finalizing an IPR policy and a separate policy for pricing of patented medicines in the country.

Barak Obama’s famed Obamacare policy for his nation’s patients showed his softer side for sick and unwell. The official name of ObamaCare is significant. It is- Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). It is also commonly referred to as health care reform, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Barak signed ‘Affordable Care Act’ into law to reform the health care industry on March 23, 2010 and it was upheld by the Supreme Court on June 28, 2012.

ObamaCare’s goal is to give more Americans access to affordable, quality health insurance, and to reduce the growth in health care spending in the U.S.

It is only natural that civil society groups, worried for poor patients, expect global ObamaCare from US president. Indian PM Modi is often given the moniker ‘Modicine’- suggesting panacea for all problems. If Obama-Modi meeting ends up as exorbitant medicines, both would lose their generosity tag.



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