"" Photo credit: Mudit Mathur
Press release |

MSF urges PM Modi not to make any trade commitments to US threatening access to medicines

Photo credit: Mudit Mathur
"" Photo credit: Mudit Mathur

New Delhi, 20 September 2019 - Ahead of the Prime Minister Modi’s visit to US to discuss a ‘trade-package’ with US President Donald Trump, Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) urges the Indian government to not make any commitments regarding intellectual property, as it will impact millions of people who rely on affordable generic medicines produced in India. India supplies affordable generic medicines to people and governments worldwide, including to MSF’s medical humanitarian projects, which are present in more than 70 countries.

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 this Sunday.

The U.S. 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.

Already in the run up to the visit, news reports have indicated that US pharmaceutical corporations backed by the US ambassador are pressurising the Indian government to give up health safeguards like price control on essential medical devices. This is deeply problematic precedent as it makes India’s policy space susceptible to pressures from major pharmaceutical corporations, who have sought to constantly undermine generic competition in the past.   

Quote by Leena Menghaney, Head- India & South Asia, MSF Access Campaign:

 “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. Going by past practises, the key focus of the US in any trade pact has always been to prioritise the interests of its pharmaceutical corporations at the cost of people lives.

The world can’t afford to see India’s pharmacy shut down to protect the profiteering of U.S. pharmaceutical corporations.”