Alleging that the US multinational firms through an industry association has approached the US Trade Representative (USTR) seeking withdrawal of India’s benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the health groups have appealed to the government to approach the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to investigate into prevalent anti-competitive practices in the marketing of Medical Devices, especially stents and orthopaedic implants.
“The move of US multinational companies through the industry association, Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) to approach the USTR with a demand to partially or fully suspend or withdraw India’s benefits under the GSP is highly reprehensible,” the All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) said in a statement.
It further urged the government to reject any pressure to review price control on medical devices. AIDAN is a network of several non-government organisations working to increase access and improve the rational use of essential medicines.
“This is a barefaced attempt to intimidate the Indian government and retaliate against its decision to fix the retail prices of cardiovascular stents and knee implants in the public interest and exposes the unabashed greed of the industry and its willingness to hold poor peoples’ health at ransom for the sake of maximising profits,” the statement said.
The US pharmaceutical industry has in the past used similar methods to pressurise the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), commerce ministry to roll back decisions related to the rejection of patents on critical medicines such as sofosbuvir for hepatitis C.
The US pharmaceutical lobby has also attempted to create a hindrance in the issuance of compulsory licenses on patented cancer medicines such as dasatinib, which are beyond reach for most patients in India.
The public health group alleged similar tactics were being used by US corporations like Abbott, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson to try and get the Indian government to dilute price control measures on essential medical devices.
AIDAN also sought expansion of price control for other devices that are classified as drugs. “We ask that price controls are urgently expanded to cover 19 additional categories of medical devices classified as drugs under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Drugs and Cosmetics Rules,” the statement said.
Source : timesofindia