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The recent Novartis and Ranbaxy pharmaceutical cases have raised crucial questions about drug safety, accessibility, and intellectual property. At an AEI event on Wednesday, leading business sector, think-tank, and NGO representatives examined the Indian pharmaceutical issue from the medical, business, and development perspectives.
AEI’s Roger Bate expressed his concern that the Indian government is prioritizing industrial policy over health policy. Arvind Subramanian of the Peterson Institute for International Economics argued that India should review its intellectual property regime and the US should review its pharmaceutical operation. Diane Farrell of the U.S.-India Business Council then spoke from a broader international perspective, emphasizing that India needs to establish a collaborative business and political environment that respects innovation.
During the second half of the event, panelists relayed their experiences working with health sectors in developing countries. Gregg Alton of Gilead Sciences said that after working as a pharmaceutical producer in both India and the US, he found that product quality largely depends on the overall maturity of a country's pharmaceutical industry. Andreas Seiter of World Bank detailed his experience dealing with different governments, explaining that Indian producers are more willing to take risks because of India's problematic quality-assurance scheme. Finally, AEI's Roger Bate concluded that the Indian counterfeit drug dilemma cannot be resolved until India's government acknowledges the problem's existence.
Earlier this summer, the Novartis case pitted advocates of intellectual property rights for global pharmaceutical firms operating in India against those championing for more affordable drugs for patients in the developing world. Moreover, the recent and high-profile Ranbaxy case with the Federal Drug Administration raises questions about the safety and quality of Indian generics, even as some nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) champion generics as the best way to ensure that patients in poor countries get access to life-saving drugs at affordable prices.
At this conference, leading business sector, think-tank, and NGO representatives will examine the Indian pharmaceutical issue from the medical, business, and development perspectives.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Panel I: Intellectual Property Law and its Implications
Roger Bate, AEI
Diane Farrell, U.S.-India Business Council
Arvind Subramanian, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Sadanand Dhume, AEI
Panel II: Medicine quality and access
Gregg Alton, Gilead Sciences Inc.
Roger Bate, AEI
Douglas Keene, Management Sciences for Health
Andreas Seiter, World Bank
Aparna Mathur, AEI
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Gregg Alton joined Gilead Sciences in 1999. From 2000 to 2009 he served as General Counsel. Prior to joining Gilead, Mr. Alton was an attorney at the law firm of Cooley Godward, LLP, where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions, corporate partnerships and corporate finance transactions for healthcare and information technology companies. Mr. Alton is a member of the boards of the AIDS Institute, BayBio (a San Francisco Bay Area life sciences industry organization), and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oakland. He is also a member of the U.S. Government's Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Intellectual Property Rights, the advisory board of UCSF Global Health Sciences and the Dean’s Advisory Council at Stanford Law School.
Roger Bate is a visiting scholar at AEI and an economist who researches international health policy, with a particular focus on tropical disease and substandard and counterfeit medicines. He is a fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, and he is on the board of directors of Africa Fighting Malaria. He writes regularly for AEI's Health Policy Outlook.
Sadanand Dhume is a resident fellow at AEI. His research interests include South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business, and society, with a focus on India and Pakistan. He is also a South Asia columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He has worked as a foreign correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review in India and Indonesia and was a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society in Washington, DC.
Diane Farrell is the executive vice president of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC). She oversees business advocacy and membership services for financial services, real estate, and infrastructure development. Before joining USIBC, Farrell served on the board of directors at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. She was named a member of the White House Business Council and has served as chairwoman of the Southwestern Connecticut Regional Planning Agency Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Douglas Keene is the vice president of Management Sciences for Health’s (MSH) Center for Pharmaceutical Management in Arlington, VA. In his role, he provides technical leadership to MSH’s Center for Pharmaceutical Management (CPM), drives new initiatives, creates new business opportunities, oversees CPM’s management and operations, and works to ensure the success of projects that contribute to MSH’s mission and overall sustainability. He oversees a diverse and international staff of about 700 employees, 85 percent of whom are based in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin and South America. Keene is a clinical pharmacist with 30 years of experience in public policy and administration and international health development, including more than 15 years working on complex programs and issues related to managing pharmaceuticals in developing countries.
Aparna Mathur is a resident scholar at AEI. She has been a consultant to the World Bank in Washington, DC, and also taught courses in microeconomics at the University of Maryland. Her work ranges from research on carbon taxes and the impact of state health insurance mandates on small firms to labor market outcomes.
Andreas Seiter is a senior health specialist at the World Bank’s Health, Nutrition, and Population Anchor. Seiter worked for 18 years in the pharmaceutical industry before joining the World Bank in 2004. He is responsible for the World Bank’s analytical and advisory work in all areas of pharmaceutical policy, such as regulation, governance, quality assurance, financing, purchasing, supply chain, and rational use. He has worked with World Bank teams, policymakers, and experts in several Bank client countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and South Asia.
Arvind Subramanian is the Dennis Weatherstone Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. He was previously assistant director in the research department of the International Monetary Fund. He served at the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade during the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations and taught at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. Foreign Policy magazine has named him as one of the world's top 100 global thinkers in 2011. He is the author of the award-winning book “Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance” (Institute of International Economics, 2011) and coauthor of “Greenprint: A New Approach to Cooperation on Climate Change” (Center for Global Development, 2013).