Independent observers have pointed that once F.D.I. is allowed MNCs will acquire Indian companies manufacturing cheap generic drugs. After taking control they will sell the same drugs at costly rates by changing the molecule while claiming that it is their invention.
Novarits case is an eye opener in this direction. Supreme Court while dismissing a plea of the Novarits for patent of its cancer drug Glivec, has commented that patent can not be granted for the mere fact that company has made small alterations.
Indian Patent office has earlier rejected Novarits plea for patent on the ground that it did not have any increase in efficacy over the prevailing known substitute. It is common practice of Pharma giants to make small modifications to circumvent the law. Companies slightly alter their drugs to renew patent and then make huge profits at the cost of poor patients.
It is learnt that several Multi National Pharma giants are planning to take over Indian generic drugs making companies. Union health ministry while favoring FDI wants to protect the interests of generic drugs industry. One proposal is to debar FDI in existing firms.
Highly placed sources told this citizen journalist that multi national Pharma companies eying on Indian generic industry are putting pressure on Govt. from different quarters. It is feared that in view of coming Loksabha polls any decision allowing foreign direct investment in sensitive Pharma sector will have adverse impact and it will be projected by the UPA's opponents that it is playing in the hands of multi national giants.
It may be recalled that the Parliamentary Standing committee has recommended ban on foreign direct investment in existing Pharma companies adding that the Pharma industry is the sector which has to be dictated by public interest rather than foreign investments.
The committee has observed that hundred percent foreign direct investment in Pharma sector has been conveniently used as an instrument by multinational companies to gain monopoly over Indian market and to destroy our technological ability to produce cheap generic medicine.
Apart from affecting Indian generic industry, allowing direct investment will also affect the supply of cheap generic medicines to other developing countries from India. The committee felt that it will be a blow to Indian generic industry which is growing at fast pace by supplying cheap medicines not only in India but in other countries also.