With support from Centad, the Indian Medical Parliamentarians’ Forum (IMPF) has published a policy note highlighting certain issues that have direct and indirect implications on access to medicines in the country.

IMPF Policy Notes for Parliamentarians on Access to MedicinesWith support from Centad, the Indian Medical Parliamentarians' Forum (IMPF) has published IMPF Policy Notes for Parliamentarians on Access to Medicines (click here to view the publication in PDF format).

The publication is timely in light of the fact that although the Indian pharmaceuticals industry is growing, only 33% of the population has access to modern medicines. This limited access may worsen, given the changing international and national trade regime.

As a member of the WTO, India has amended its Patents Act to introduce a product patent regime. Further, there is growing demand from multinational pharmaceutical companies and big Indian companies to introduce data exclusivity. Both product patent and data exclusivity delay the introduction of generic drugs and insulate the market from competition. This results in higher drug prices and raises questions about the effectiveness of the country's price control and monitoring mechanism.

The IMPF policy note highlights certain issues that have direct and indirect implications on access to medicines, to help members of Parliament and policymakers address these issues.

Topics covered in the publication include:

  • How lack of controls affects access to medicines.
  • Need for participation and informed policymaking in pharmaceutical policy.
  • Issues of concern in the Indian pharmaceuticals market.
  • ‘Branded generic' medicines.
  • Unethical drug promotion.
  • Drug prices: the tax angle.
  • Hazardous drugs and dubious and irrational drug combinations.
  • Need for a fresh approach to drug regulation.
  • Compulsory licensing: suggestions for change.
  • Spurious drugs.
  • The clinical trials industry in India.
  • Restricting patents to new chemical entities.
  • Patients' opposition to patent applications for HIV/AIDS.
  • How drug patents in India endanger global availability of affordable medicines.
  • Data exclusivity and pharmaceuticals.
  • International non-proprietary names for pharmaceutical substances and their usage in India.
  • Drug information for consumers in India.