Marketing of medicines in India

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7443.778 (Published 01 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:778
  1. Chandra M Gulhati, editor (indianmims@yahoo.co.in)
  1. Monthly Index of Medical Specialities (MIMS India), 90 Nehru Place, New Delhi 110019, India

    Informing, influencing, or inducing?

    India has a large pharmaceutical industry. A major expansion started in the early 1970s when the Indian government took two fateful decisions. Firstly, it decided to permit domestic manufacturers to produce generic versions of patented molecules without permission from overseas innovators—provided a different manufacturing process was employed. Secondly, small scale pharmaceutical units were eligible for huge fiscal incentives and state subsidies. The new policy led to an unprecedented growth of medicine makers. Today an estimated 17 000 pharmaceutical companies produce over 40 000 branded formulations, many times more than the rest of the world.

    Since the industry has free access to medicines discovered abroad, there is little incentive to undertake research to make new drugs. Consequently, nearly all companies are engaged in vicious …

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