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Has Modi sacrificed the interests of poor Indian Cancer patients?

February 11, 2015

Many congratulations to Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party on winning Delhi Assembly elections. Even Narendra Modi and Bhartiya Janata Party will do better with some adversity, criticism and rude and timely jolts.

Kejriwal is unarguably a good man and Modi made a grave mistake not inviting him to Republic Day celebrations. I am an impartial and neutral and secular citizen of India. I am against Christian missionaries and their relentless conversions of tribals and natives and the poorest (rural & urban) of India. I view their preachers/evangelists as nothing less than foreign agents/spies and I endorse ‘Gharwapsi’ for the same reason openly.Yet I am not blind to the slips committed by BJP and its leaders in the bygone months. I view Kejriwal not being extended an invitation to R Day parade by our PM Modi as a deliberate and unpardonable slip. This coupled with Modi fashion statement makes me pause and revise all my earlier opinions.

Not to forget we are a family of doctors and engineers principally. Mostly move in circles of doctors, engineers and chartered accountants. So we get to discuss a lot, lot of things of national interest from the point of view of these professionals. Doctors in my family mingle with the public day to day. My BIL, a general medicine practitioner, says, Anthrax is not uncommon in India especially in Tamil Nadu where cattle population is abundant! We are by nature auto-immune to many strains of bacteria and viruses because ours is basically not a hygienic country(!) Our lack of civic sense makes us strongly resistant to a range of potentially harmful germs and microbes you can ever find on Planet Earth!

Recently a doctor known to us said how Modi during his visit to the US heavily compromised on the interests of poor Cancer patients in India. I do not know how far this is true. For starters, I am aware the cancer drug price has risen many multiple-fold – from being sold at mere 8,000 bucks to over a lakh of rupees overnight. All it takes the lobbyists in US is to sing ‘Modi Nama’ what else, grimaces the doctor friend. But what I understand is, some names of the cancer drugs made locally in India have been taken off ‘the exemption’ list which may not be a permanent or legal move/measure (technically speaking) – which can always be reinstated. Further clarifications needed on this point. What really took us by shock is the quiet way in which Indian interests have been ‘sold’ in US territory. Legal repercussions are not yet studied given the Supreme Court ruling in the cases pertaining to such nature. Whether reversal of Modi’s non-exemption of drugs will anger again the foreign manufacturers and investors is another angle to be probed (should that happen). It will bring about enormous displeasure sure but how far damaging will be a good question to ponder. What will be the summary effect on Indian economy on an eventual turn-back will be an interesting development to watch out for.

 

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26721-big-pharma-lobbies-hard-to-end-india-s-distribution-of-affordable-generic-drugs

 

India has been winning patent cases against foreign firms for drugs to life-threatening illnesses like Cancer for a while. Indian pharmaceutical companies have been developing their own formulae but they have been taken to court by foreign manufacturers for violation of patents. Indian courts have ruled that, where the life of a poor Indian is at stake, when Indian companies can make the medication and treatment available for a fraction of what it costs buying imported drugs, Indian interests stand to be protected first and foremost. Therefore cancer drugs made in India fell to least and accessible rates with the medicine available for the poor at affordable costs in last few years. Indian courts had exempted thus a list of over 100 life-saving drugs from patent rights, and the Indian pharmas have gone ahead with the manufacture of the same locally. The largest benefactor of the outcome is the poor Indian public. With health care made available to them at very reasonable rates, quality of life in India is bound to get better.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/01/us-india-novartis-patent-idUSBRE93002I20130401

http://world.time.com/2013/04/01/the-novartis-decision-is-the-big-win-for-indian-pharma-bad-news-for-investment/

http://www.biospectrumasia.com/biospectrum/news/22107/cipla-wins-patent-roche

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novartis_v._Union_of_India_%26_Others

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Supreme-Court-rules-for-cheap-cancer-drug/articleshow/19331267.cms

 

Now Modi seems to have sold India’s interests in the US. Here is the list of links I have managed to add:

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-cancer-drug-price-goes-up-from-rs-8000-to-rs-108-lakh-2022667

http://www.reddit.com/r/india/comments/2hyljj/cancer_drug_price_goes_up_from_rs_8000_to_rs_108/

http://kafila.org/2014/10/20/make-in-india-modis-war-on-the-poor/

https://donttradeourlivesaway.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/why-did-modi-agree-to-give-away-indias-patent-sovereignty-to-americans/

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/indian-drug-cos-worried-about-patent-regime-changes/article6871490.ece

 

Modiji is this what ‘Make in India’ all about. Is this your ‘Dharidra Narayan ki Seva?’

If selling the interests of India’s poorest cancer patients is what it takes to secure the Nuclear deal from US, then who says we want it?

Or are poor Indian cancer patients the collateral damage we have to write-off for the nuke deal and other trade agreements you are signing with America.

I have been following up the news for a while on the issue. More interest is generated because of interacting with some doctors in our circle.

 

http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/has-modi-succumbed-us-pressure-patents

http://business-humanrights.org/en/india-health-activists-fear-decreased-access-to-medicines-for-the-poor-as-govt-reviews-intellectual-property-laws

http://www.cpim.org/views/indiaasksobama-say-goodbye-affordable-medicines-if-obama-hashis-way

http://scroll.in/article/701313/The-one-possible-item-on-Obama’s-India-agenda-that-we-should-worry-about

http://www.healthgap.org/the_dangers_of_the_indian_government_s_flirtation_with_u_s_pharma_and_the_risks_for_india_s_coherent

 

All these links I have found in the web, and not all I have finished reading as yet. Going through them still.

http://www.firstpost.com/business/obamas-pressure-on-india-over-intellectual-property-rights-betrays-his-double-standards-2067809.html

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/drishtikone/2013/04/leukemia-patients-pay-20-times-in-us-vs-india-indias-drug-patents-activism-and-its-impacts/

 

I shall do more reading on the subject and keep the post updated. Meanwhile I would like an informed opinion on the subject analysed in depth by seasoned political thinkers. Looking forward to some valuable, wise reads.

Shall form an opinion based on expert judgements. What I have here is not enough. May be its not yet late to go back Modiji? Going back on your words need not have to hurt this one time?

I am hoping the step is reversible, retractable. And if such an option can be exercised, my humblest request to my prime minister is, Modiji please don’t sell India. Is this what we voted you to power for?

 

ONE THING TO CONSIDER MODIJI: WHAT COULD APPLE DO ABOUT SAMSUNG ANDROID. POOR INDIAN CANCER PATIENTS MUST MEAN MORE TO YOU OVER YOUR INFLATED EGO. 

Finally the views expressed in the post are mine, and I am a jobless housewife here who has India’s best interests at heart. We have cancer patients in our family. My aunt, a retired teacher, is a breast cancer survivor of not one but two mastectomies. Just ask me, Narendra Modiji. Her first doctor was Shri Maithreyan, a BJP then ADMK MP from Tamil Nadu, a noted oncologist who subsidized heavily her radiation and chemotherapy. Who did not get married to serve the poor.  My aunt would take chemo in the mornings and get back to her school by afternoon for teaching her board exam class 10. She did not take more than 1 month leave when she was struck with cancer for the first time in 1996. From middle-class family with limited health cover, I know how much drug prices mean to us common folks that could make a  difference between life and death.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V._Maitreyan

And I don’t most certainly need a Rahul Gandhi or media to tell me what’s going on in the capital. Indian public have common sense. That’s why Delhi happened.

 

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