The Multinational Monitor


G L O B A L   N E W S W A T C H

India: Gandhi Blasts Drug Companies

At the May meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) assembly in Geneva-where an international infant formula marketing code was passed, over the United States' sole dissenting vote-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India used the occasion of her keynote speech to denounce multinational drug firms. "Medicines which may be of the utmost value to poorer countries can be bought by us only at exorbitant prices," she said, adding that medicines which poorer countries may not need, and which in fact may be dangerous, are distributed by the companies. "Sometimes medicines are exported abroad although their use is prohibited within the countries of manufacture," she pointed out. Gandhi called for an end to "profiteering from life or death."

American drug firms alone account for one-fourth of the Indian pharmaceuticals market, according to statistics from 'the U.S. Bureau of Industrial Economics. The U.S. Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association termed Gandhi's statements "unfounded."

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