Intellectual Property, Pharmaceuticals and Public Health

Intellectual Property, Pharmaceuticals and Public Health

Access to Drugs in Developing Countries

Edited by Kenneth C. Shadlen, Samira Guennif, Alenka Guzmán and N. Lalitha

This up-to-date book examines pharmaceutical development, access to medicines, and the protection of public health in the context of two fundamental changes that the global political economy has undergone since the 1970s, the globalization of trade and production and the increased harmonization of national regulations on intellectual property rights.

Chapter 9: Access to Indian Generic Drugs: Emerging Issues

N. Lalitha

Subjects: development studies, development economics, law and development, economics and finance, development economics, health policy and economics, political economy, law - academic, intellectual property law, law and development, politics and public policy, political economy, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


N. Lalitha The focus of this chapter is on access to generic drugs1 produced by the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Globally, about 60 developing countries have no pharmaceutical industry and 87 have capacity to make finished products only (Cullet, 2005). The Indian pharmaceutical industry (IPI), with its 8 per cent share in global pharmaceutical production, over the years has grown to become an important generic supplier to such countries. India now accounts for 20 per cent of the world’s generic supply (IDMA, 2010). Two thirds of the drugs produced in India are exported, with destinations in North America, the European Union, CIS countries and West Africa in that order (Table 9.1). Drugs produced in India satisfy 95 per cent of the domestic demand (EXIM Bank, 2007). Though production of drugs is not an issue in India, access to drugs is an issue of concern since health cover is limited to a small percentage of the population in India. Private out of pocket health expenditure is estimated at 84 per cent of the total health expenditure, because of the limited public health expenditure which is estimated at less than one per cent of GDP. The National Sample Survey on Consumer Expenditure (55th Round) reports that, respectively, 77 and 70 per cent of the health expenditure in rural and urban areas is on medicines. Therefore, out of pocket medical costs alone may push 2.2 per cent of the population below the poverty line in one year in India (World Bank, 2001). In that...

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