Endosulfan caught in a war between generics and patented

Bangalore, Feb 4 (PTI) The Pesticide Manufacturers andFormulators Association of India today alleged that the callfor a ban on Endosulfan was aimed at serving "vestedinterests" and termed it as a battle between "low pricedgeneric pesticides" and "expensive patented alternatives".

Referring to reports that Endosulfan was responsible fordiseases in Kasargod district in Kerala, Pradip Dave,President of the Association, said several committees set upby the Centre to examine the issue had concluded that therewas "no established link between Endosulfan and the allegedreports of health problems in Kasargod, Kerala".

Even the Karnataka Government constituted expert committeehad tabled a report in the Karnataka Assembly on April 14,2005 which stated that the use of Endosulfan was notresponsible for the reported health problems, he said.

The association questioned the Endosulfan study publishedby the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) andalleged the report was "flawed and misleading".

Dr S K Handa, Fellow of National Academy of AgriculturalSciences, said "In the NIOH study in Padre village in Kerala,no confirmatory data was generated, thus no decisions can betaken based on this report. Since there was no confirmationreferring to presence of Endosulfan in the report made byscientists in NIOH, Endosulfan cannot be blamed for thediseases".

Handa claimed Endosulfan was a "safe molecule" and as perWHO "does not possess properties to cause cancer or diseasesas reported in Kasargod."

Hariharan, Chairman, International Stewardship Centre,said based on a proposal by the European Union, "Endosulfan isbeing considered at the Stockholm Convention to be listed as aPersisted Organic Pollutant (POP)." India has rejected listingof Endosulfan as POP.

"These conventions are being exploited by vested interest",serve European trade interest", he said and added "IfEndosulfan is banned it became easier for patented moleculesto expand their market share".

The global crop protection market is valued at USD 40billion. The top six companies, all multi-nationals, accountfor 75 per cent of the total market. The top three companies,all European, account for over 50 per cent of the totalmarket. Over 67 per cent of the market is either patented orproprietary and less than 33 per cent is generic.

"There is a strong motivation for European multi-nationalsto replace "low priced generics" with their "expensive"patented alternatives," said Hariharan.

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