So, India is now finally flexing its muscle on helping other developing nations battle the coming pandemic! Way to go!
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has offered India’s expertise in making generic drugs to Southeast Asian nations to help deal with the menace of bird flu.
Singh told leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at a summit on Tuesday that India can support their efforts to make a generic version of Tamiflu drug, the only known medical shield against the disease, said Rajiv Sikri, a top diplomat aiding Singh.
“He offered the efforts to support a generic version of anti-viral drugs and a regional network of anti-viral drugs stockpiling,” Sikri said.
Details of India’s possible support will have to be discussed “at a more technical level,” said Sikri, briefing reporters on the gist of Singh’s discussions with ASEAN’s 10 leaders. India is one of the largest makers of copycat generic drugs for a host of illnesses including HIV/AIDS.
“India’s strengths in the pharmaceutical industry are recognized. India is a source of effective and affordable drugs,” Sikri said.
“Therefore India can make a contribution in tackling these transnational communicable diseases like avian flu, or HIV/AIDS or whatever through supply of drugs and proper stockpiling of these drugs,” he said.
India’s top pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. said in October that it is talking to Roche of Switzerland for a license to manufacture a generic version of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu, a move that could ease supplies of the drug in the event of a bird flu pandemic.
Ranbaxy says it could develop a generic copy of the flu drugs in a couple of months.
Earlier, Ranbaxy’s Indian rival, Cipla Ltd., also said it would seek a license to copy Tamiflu. Cipla said it has already developed the generic version _ oseltamivir.