Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on September 23, 2008
According to the Economic Times, there are Indians wondering about what the U.S. is really up to by banning the import of 30 drugs by Ranbaxy. The FDA announced the ban last week, citing irregularities at two of the company’s Indian plants. (See this Eye on Asia item from Sept. 17 for more on that.) The Economic Times (a content partner of BusinessWeek, which runs some of its articles on our Asia Channel) reports people suspect the FDA is a tool of Big Pharma companies afraid of competitors from India: “Some in the pharmaceutical industry believe that the ban could be a ploy by the US pharma lobby to discourage Indian drug manufacturers. The Indian formulations used for treating serious diseases such as AIDS are several times cheaper than those manufactured by the US companies.”
I think they better get some new talking points. Crying protectionism might work for domestic consumption, but that argument isn’t going to fly overseas. During the peak of last year’s Made-in-China scare, the FDA got slammed for not doing enough to protect American consumers from shoddy Asian-made products. Now, at a time when babies are dying in China from milk tainted with industrial chemicals, U.S. regulators don’t need pressure from American drugmakers to remind them of the need to watch Asian imports carefully. Alleging a plot by U.S. companies as an explanation for Ranbaxy’s woes isn’t going to change many minds.