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05 August 2010
New Delhi, India

A large number of pharma firms have sold majority of their shares to multinational companies which will make essential medicines costlier, panel said
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health has asked the government to pay attention to the selling out of major Indian Pharma companies to multinationals, whose increasing hold over the drug market it says will make essential medicines costlier.

The committee in its report presented to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday noted that a large number of pharma companies have sold majority of their shares to multinational companies, reports IANS.

“Promoters of some Indian pharma companies like Piramal Healthcare, Ranbaxy, Shantha Biotech and Dabur Pharma have already sold their controlling shares to US, Japanese and German MNCs,” the report said.

It asked the government to ensure that major Indian pharma companies remain in Indian hands.

“The committee would appreciate if the ministry of health and family welfare takes up the issue with the ministry of chemical and fertilizers without any delay and come up with policy option to ensure that major Indian pharma companies are in Indian hands,” it said.

Pointing out that 61 drugs worth over US $80 billion are going off patent between 2011 and 2013 making it possible for domestic pharma companies to produce cheaper version of the drug, the committee expressed concern over the increasing hold of MNCs.

“These developments would result in MNCs gaining market supremacy and essential medicines are bound to be costlier,” it added.

According to the Health Ministry, India is the third largest producer of generic drugs in the world and exports medicines to nearly 156 countries.

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