South Africa urged to promote generic Indian drugs

March 27th, 2009 - 5:11 am ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Durban, March 27 (IANS) Indian High Commissioner Rajiv Bhatia has called on South Africa to assist in the fight against major pharmaceutical companies who are trying to get generic medicines classified as counterfeit drugs.

“The big pharmaceutical companies of the West are pushing an agenda which seeks to include generic medicines in the definition of counterfeit drugs,” Bhatia told delegates at the first Durban-India Business Summit here Thursday.

“It is unfortunate that some African countries are reportedly seeking to enact legislation, which would ban generic drugs.

“I am sure our friends in South Africa would join us in combating these moves against generic drugs which would not only hurt the public health needs of developing countries but also go against the spirit of a rule-based trading system and represent a distorted use of the international IP system, circumscribing TRIPS flexibilities.”

Bhatia pointed out that the Indian pharmaceutical industry is well-established and operated under strict laws and regulations.

“Indian generics are merely low cost versions of off-patent drugs. They are of high quality, completely safe and efficacious,” Bhatia added as he continued his plea for support.

Several Indian pharmaceutical companies have made inroads in South Africa in recent years, some having waited several years to get their products approved by local authorities.

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