CPI not pleased with govt attitude on generic medicines issue

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New Delhi, Nov 21 (UNI) The Communist Party of India (CPI) has expressed its strong displeasure over the government reportedly changing its position on the issue of generic medicines which is providing the people in the country access to cheap and quality drugs.

Party General Secretary A B Bardhan in a two-paged letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here today has pointed out that a renewed attempt is being launched by the multinational pharmaceutical companies and developed countries to block generics manufactured in India from sale and export. This new attempt is under the guise of tackling sub-standard and spurious medicines, known as "anti-counterfeiting", there are numerous proposals being floated internationally to define counterfeiting in a way that would block legal generics from being exported.

Mr Bardhan said Parliament has been vocal and clear on the need to ensure access to cheap and quality generic medicines and voted to introduce public health provision in India's Patent law.

He said these efforts are now sought to be undermined by the so-called anti-counterfeiting measures. The measures being proposed include a new definition of counterfeiting emerging from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Within the WHO, this is being pushed by a group known as International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (IMPACT).

He said the antecedents of IMPACT are well known and its agenda is clear. By confusing the issue of the quality of medicines with that of Intellectual Property they are furthering the agenda of multinational pharmaceutical companies to halt the export of medicines by Indian companies. This is no surprise as the industry association of multinational pharmaceutical companies, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical manufacturers and Association (IFPMA) is part of IMPACT. IFPMA has consistently opposed the manufacture of safe generic medicines in India citing their revenue losses.

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