The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bitter pill awaits drug makers

Mumbai, Dec. 21 (PTI): The Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (Idma) president, N.H. Irani today warned pharma industry of tough days ahead with product patent regime fast approaching.

Delivering his presidential address at the 41st annual function of Idma here, Irani said Indian pharmaceutical industry, in addtion to intellectual property rights (IPR) hurdles, was going to witness continuous calls for technical harmonisation based on US standards, tightening of product registration procedures in almost every country and expensive inspections from overseas regulatory agencies.

Cautioning that there will also be various non-tariff barriers on pharmaceuticals to prevent competition from cost effective countries like India, he said “we have to face the challenges with imagination and resourcefulness.”

On critical patent issues, Irani said India’s life-saving pharmaceutical industry grew fast because of abolition of product patents in 1970 and the spirit of enterprise and service, dedicated scientists and flexible supporting polices.

“These values should not get altered by strong product patents proposed to be re-introduced in January 2005. However, we have to accept the fact that we are living in a selfish world and in the name of globalisation and harmonisation, arm twisting and coercion in multi-lateral and bilateral fora are common place,” Irani said.

“Our effort should now be aimed at establishing a practical and balanced law, providing due compensations for innovation and preventing creation of monopolies, to deliver affordable and quality drugs to all,” Irani said.

On domestic industry, he expressed confidence about increasing investments in R&D, which will touch 3 per cent sales this year, expansion of production capacities, and expanding employment opportunities for Indian scientists and technocrats.

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