Economy

Indian pharma may benefit from prez-elect’s pro-generics stance

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 09, 2016

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Trump may also re-negotiate trade deals such as TPP

Drug prices and the worrying cost of healthcare featured prominently in the campaigns of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s victory has made Indian drugmakers hope and health advocacy workers worry over Trump’s position on the import of generic medicine into the US and trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Trump has been vocal against the TPP, something that should have pleased health advocacy groups, as they fear it is structured against local industries, farmers, etc. And yet, many wonder if he will do a U-turn, given the pharma lobbies involved, says Leena Menghaney, a lawyer on the health rights of communities.

The TPP takes away from local communities, and it takes a Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)-plus position, which could hurt local industry, she said. (TPP is a mega deal that involves about 12 countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, etc.)

A close watch

Large Indian drugmakers though are watching with optimism, as the US is the world’s largest drug market.

Lupin MD Nilesh Gupta, for instance, observes that the present outcome is pro-business. Generics will continue to have a strong presence as governments keep an eye on healthcare costs, he indicated. As for the investigations on generic drugmakers and their prices, he said the investigations would take their course, but that would not take away from the role of less expensive generic drugs.

DG Shah of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (a platform for large local companies) notes that Trump had spoken of facilitating imports of affordable generics. He is not for Obamacare (the existing health insurance plan) and had opposed TPP and the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), says Shah, and this could throw up an opportunity if Trump decides to renegotiate these trade deals.

On the heat that drug companies were facing on drug prices, he said, Big Pharma was higher up on that radar than the generics.

jyothi.datta@thehindu.co.in

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Published on November 09, 2016
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