Big Pharma pushes for U.S. action against India over patent worries

A private security guard looks out from a window of the head office of Natco in the southern Indian city of HyderabadBy Sumeet Chatterjee and Ben Hirschler MUMBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – Global pharmaceutical firms are pressuring the United States to act against India to stop more local companies producing up to a dozen new varieties of cheap generic drugs still on-patent, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. An Indian government committee is reviewing patented drugs of foreign firms to see if so-called compulsory licenses, which in effect break exclusivity rights, can be issued for some of them to bring down costs, two senior government officials told Reuters. Emerging markets, from South Africa to China and India, are battling to bring down healthcare costs and boost access to drugs to treat diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Western drugmakers, including Pfizer Inc, Novartis AG, Roche Holding AG and Sanofi SA, covet a bigger share of the fast-growing drugs market in India.

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