Drugmaker Mylan Laboratories recently signed an agreement with United Nations-backed public health organisation Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), to develop, manufacture and sell the first generic version of a drug for Hepatitis C patients. According to reports, the agreement says that India can only manufacture the drug but cannot sell in the local market. The new version of the drug is for patients who are not responding to existing treatment.
As per reports, the agreement signed between Mylan Laboratories and United Nations' public health organisation has listed India in the category of 'manufacturing only' and it is the only country in the category. There are 96 other countries mentioned in the agreement but they are listed in the category of 'Territory which is eligible to access the drug'. According to reports, the drug has been developed by US biopharma company AbbVie, who in turn has granted a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to Mylan Laboratories to manufacture the drug in India.
Media reports suggest that in India a large number of patients have stopped responding to the current treatment of Hepatitis C and by not listing the country in the 'eligible to access the drug' category could affect thousands of patients. As per reports, states like Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and the North East, as well as certain parts of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, are more prone to Hepatitis C. According to reports, around 1,450 patients out of 25,000 in Haryana since 2013 have failed to respond to the current treatment for Hepatitis C.
Doctors and NGOs in India have started raising questions related to the latest agreement signed between the drug company and the United Nations-backed health organisation. Some are calling for the model to be challenged by the Indian government as they feel it's not fair for a company to manufacture a drug and then leave out the very people living in the country.
Image Credit: AP/Representative Image