NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi must not give in to pressure from the United States to change intellectual property laws which allow India to produce generic medicines that millions of patients can afford, the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) /Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said.
The Prime Minister, who is visiting the United States to bolster trade and investment ties, will be meeting US President Donald Trump and business leaders on September 22, 2019.
India supplies affordable generic medicines to people and governments worldwide, including MSF’s humanitarian projects, which are present in more than 70 countries.
"India should be cautious while signing any trade package or launching trade negotiations with the US that may include harmful provisions threatening India’s ability to produce and supply affordable medical products,” said Leena Menghaney, Head, India and South Asia, MSF Access Campaign.
Ms Menghaney warned, “Going by past practices, the key focus of the US in any trade pact has always been to prioritize the interests of its pharmaceutical corporations at the cost of people's lives.”
She stated, “The world can’t afford to see India’s pharmacy shut down to protect the profiteering of US pharmaceutical corporations.”
In a statement, MSF said, "The Indian Commerce Ministry and the United States Trade Representative have been hammering out a trade package before the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to the United States scheduled to start on September 22.”
“The US Trade Representative has a long history of throwing every single intimidation and pressure tactic at the Indian government to undermine price lowering competition from its manufacturers of medicines and other medical products," it added.
"US pharmaceutical corporations backed by the US ambassador are pressuring the Indian government to give up health safeguards like price control on essential medical devices," the statement said.