India says no trade talks with EU until GVK issue 'resolved'

An official at India's Commerce Ministry says the currently stalled free trade talks with the European Union will remain on hold until a ban on 700 generic drugs that were bioequivalency tested by GVK Biosciences is resolved, according to a report by The Hindu newspaper.

"We have been asking the EU to resolve the matter. We have said that we are even ready for re-testing of the banned medicines. But there is no official response from the bloc on the matter. We will not re-start FTA negotiations till there is some concrete movement on resolution of our problem," a Commerce Ministry official told The Hindu.

"We feel that the EU may be slow in reacting because of pressure from big pharma companies who benefit if generics are out of the market. Since generics are several times cheaper than the patented variants, the profits of MNCs get dented," the official said in The Hindu report.

The EU announced the ban in July after health authorities there received inside information from a disgruntled worker alleging test results were manipulated. The issue was raised during a recent visit to India by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but remains unresolved, The Hindu reported.

- here's the story from The Hindu