Notice to health, commerce ministry over drug licence

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New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission on Friday issued notices to the commerce and health ministries over reports that India has reassured the US-India Business Council to take a restrained approach in handing out licences to produce cheaper versions of drugs patented with the American firms.

Taking cognisance of the issue through media reports, the commission has observed that the step will deny the people of India access to generic medicines at affordable prices.

It has also learnt that at least two applications for compulsory licences to produce domestically generic versions of drugs patented in the US were rejected in 2015.

“The commission has called for reports within two weeks from the ministries of commerce and industries as well as health, through their secretaries in the matter,” said a commission statement.

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“The commission observed that the contents of the reports, if true, raise questions impinging upon right to health of citizens in India,” said the statement.

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