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India and Drugs: How Corporate Is Not Helping With Generic Medications

The Indian market for medicinal drugs, both brand name and generic, is wholly in the market. The U.S. relies on India for over 80% of its HIV/AIDS medicines that are made generically by the Indian companies. The US also utilizes routine generic drugs from Indian companies to also treat malaria, tuberculosis, and a host of other diseases. So, why is corporate not allowing its own citizens to benefit from the massive industry that is right there in their country? Simple: they can get more money marketing to the U.S. than they can marketing to their own people.

Why India?

Well, why India? Why not trade with anyone? Well, that answer is also simple: in 2005, there was a trade rule put into place that required India to begin granting medical patents only. That means that the bulk of their revenue was tanked due to the agreement. However, that also meant that they had to go through strict channels in order to obtain those patents, so they became much more reliable than their unpatented counterparts. What this opened other countries up to was the ability to reap from India’s benefits of their pharmaceutical program, because every trial they undertook had to be recorded and passed through those same channels before they could start. That gave us access to all-in-one pills (drugs that had two or three pills in one to treat multiple things at once) and ultimately simplified the way many diseases were treated.

Why Keep It From Their Own Market?

It isn’t that they are intentionally keeping it from their own market. What is happening is that “big pharma” lobbyists are wanting to interject their own agenda into the the medical trade agreements between India and the U.S., and that means much less funding for the corporate entities in India who are in control of these programs. Part of the problem is that Indian drug companies rely too much on the U.S.’s program that has been set in place for pharmaceutical companies to “donate” their drugs through specific channels that can be available through applied programs, like Doctors Without Borders. They are too reliant on those programs to get free medical treatment for their people that they are not stopping to consider a massively untapped market within their own country. However, it isn’t just corporate gathering these pills and dumping them overseas just to make money.

Booming Drug Industry

India’s drug industry is growing exponentially because these drugs work, and sometimes, even better than their brand counterparts. The issue here is that while America is producing the big-name brand drugs and spending millions upon million of dollars in revenue for advertisement and clinical trials, India is already improving their formula with their counterpart and selling it in other parts of the world, helping it to gain speed before introducing it into their biggest market: America. This means that when people get their hands on this generic option that is much lower in price and, sometimes, even completely covered by their insurance, they never do switch back to that hefty name-brand with a hefty price. It’s no wonder lobbyists are attempting to demolish the U.S.’s relationship with India in terms of their generic drugs: in “big pharma”’s mind, they are bankrupting our own medicine factories!

Lobbyists Win?

One of the changes that came with the lobbyists uproar was for the FDA to increase its inspections on its internationally-imported counterparts. This means that almost double the factory inspections took place in 2009, and has been rising ever since. With this rise in regulations and checks, this means that India’s time spent maintaining its facilities to our standards and getting us the required paperwork every month that is necessary in order to keep their doors open is detracting even more from their time. This means that, even though generic drugs have an equal bioequivalent effect to their brand-name counterparts, that the amount of medication that they have produced has dropped. So, what do you do when production drops? You outsource. And that has gotten the U.S. into a world of hurt.

What This Means For The Weight Loss Field

This means that wonderful weight loss supplements, like Phen375, are much harder to obtain, and wonderful programs to lose weight from popular resources, are seen being used much less in their culture. And yet, their obesity rate steadily continues to climb while their corporate drug manufacturers turn a blind eye to their country who not only want to keep their health in check, but help themselves lose weight as well. But, with India having to comply with so many U.S. federal regulations, that means more money is necessary for them to comply, and that means that selling their own product to their people would actually put them at a deficit. Because India does not have their own strict regulations regarding how medicine is prescribed and distributed, their medicinal community does not make nearly the kind of money within their own market as it does within other country’s markets. Their monetary priority is keeping their doors open, and if not selling their product to their own people is going to help keep them open, then that is what they are going to do. After all, the U.S. provides all of those free medicine programs that they are eligible for, right? So, like mentioned before, they lean on those to help their own people so that they can keep their doors open without outsourcing too many of their own jobs to other countries that do not have strict regulations regarding imports of drugs into their shared markets. How fun is that circle?

Corporate India does not help their own at all when it comes to obtaining drugs, though it cannot all be blamed on sheer money. The U.S. market, in a sham of an effort to get their millions in profits back, have made it harder on the Indian medical community to import their generic drugs into the states for those that cannot afford the sky-high prices of brand-name drugs. So, they outsource and they neglect their own people in order to keep up with the monetary needs for all of the regulations that the lobbyists ended up pushing onto their market. It is a massive catch-22 that will eventually come crumbling to the ground, and the only people that will suffer because of it are the Indian people. And that, more than anything, is the greatest tragedy to come from all of this.

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Updated: April 24, 2017 — 7:17 am

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