Indian CoC Calls for Drug Price Liberalisation, Copy Curbs
A report by the Federation of India Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
has called for the liberalisation of pricing controls in the pharmaceutical
sector, coupled with increased investment in R&D.
The pharmaceutical industry has long complained that India' harsh price controls are affecting re-investment in the country's drug sector. A lack of R&D funding is also reportedly affecting competitiveness, particularly regarding exports to developed markets. The report calls for an increase in government investment in this area from the present INR1.5bn (US$34mn) to INR20bn (US$459mn). It also argues that a 150% government subsidy on R&D should be extended, with ties between the industry and academia organised more along US lines.
Further, the report calls for harsher penalties and better monitoring of illegal copy drugs. India has recently tabled a number of new initiatives against copying, such as allowing law enforcement agencies to pursue cases. Illegal copying no longer carries the death penalty, although FICCI argues that the offence should be non-bailable. The organisation now urges fast-tracked prosecutions, as many illegal copying cases languish away from courtrooms for years at a time.
Any moves to enforce stringent patent legislation in India are likely to be
welcomed by the multinational pharmaceutical community, especially if the monitoring
capacity of state and central government Drug Control Organizations is enhanced.
However, it remains to be seen whether the political will exists to carry out
an unprecedented mobilisation of the state's resources in order to strengthen
India's drug sector.