Indian officials spooked by Big Pharma M&A

Indian officials are starting to worry that Big Pharma will have too much influence on its domestic drug market. In the wake of some high-profile acquisitions--Daiichi Sankyo and Ranbaxy Laboratories, for instance--the Indian government is raising the specter of runaway drug prices, The Hindu reports.

Big Pharma could come to dominate the Indian market, and then collude to raise prices, making some drugs unaffordable for many Indians, the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion suggests. Its solution is to let domestic drugmakers make and sell patented medicines to keep prices down. And require government review of M&A in the pharma sector.

Under the group's proposal, the Indian government would grant compulsory licenses for local companies to make patented meds--but only if the foreign-owned drugmakers abuse their dominant market position. Such licenses would require copycat drugmakers to pay royalties to the patent holder.

So far, several Big Pharma companies have been cutting prices in emerging markets as a strategy for boosting sales volume. That includes India. But the country is anxious to protect its homegrown drugmakers; it's proud of its pharma industry and doesn't want to see foreign drugmakers take over completely.

- read the story in India Today
- get the Hindu piece
- check out the Bloomberg story