Hurt by Chinese fakes, India promotes own generic drugs in Africa (Lead)

June 11th, 2009 - 4:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) India has launched a major drive to promote its growing pharmaceutical industry in Africa after recent seizures there of fake drugs that were labelled “Made in India” but were produced in China.
“An effort is also being made to sensitise ministers and senior officials of African nations that the Indian generic industry is as safe as its patented versions and is available at much reasonable prices,” an official statement said.

This has been a part of the Indian government’s campaign to promote Brand India and the country’s $11-billion pharmaceutical industry in Africa. A high-level delegation from the commerce ministry was also dispatched to meet African health ministers, the statement added.

The campaign has been launched in the wake of Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria Mahesh Kumar Sachdev informing the commerce ministry about the seizure of a large consignment of fake anti-malarial drugs labelled “Made in India” but produced in China.

“After a laboratory analysis by the Nigerian Government Drug Regulatory Authority, the drugs have been found to be fake and had it not been intercepted, about 642,000 adults would have been affected,” said the statement.

The consignment was supposed to be containing Maloxine and Amalar tablets used for treating malaria. “They were produced, packed and shipped from China,” the statement added.

Commerce ministry officials had earlier told IANS that India had begun collecting proof from African countries like Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana where such fake Chinese drugs were being passed as India-made, earning disrepute to its pharma industry.

“We have already lodged a protest with the Chinese authorities - at the mission here and also through our embassy in Beijing,” a senior official in the commerce ministry said.

“Now the process is on for collecting proof. We need to get hold of the actual fake drugs, find out how it is being peddled and, importantly, trace it to the factories in China where it is being manufactured,” the official said, requesting anonymity.

“For this we need, and have also sought, the help of Chinese authorities.”

The $11-billion Indian pharmaceutical industry is one of the most developed in the world, ranking fourth in volume terms and 13th in value. This industry, predicted to grow annually at over 9.5 percent till 2015, accounted for 8 percent of global output in 2008.

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