A note: "Apothecurry" - a blog with a very creative and meaningful name is my favorite blog to get some nifty scoops on the status of the Indian pharma industry, and I suppose what the Indian Government is doing to it...
You can find the blog linked at the end of the post.
Among other things they have done:
1. They forced Bayer to license a Cancer drug in a very ambiguous manner. Bayer is no saint, the proposed drug cost and their stance is a direct evidence of either greed or self-loathing inanity - hard to say.
2. They have made a pledge to provide free drugs to India's teeming millions without a proper plan or even the semblance of one...
3. Now, they have threatened Foreign Direct Investments, and, according to Apothecurry, in quite a disparate manner.
Bringing the License Raj back:
Well, not the TBBT Raj, but the much maligned "License Raj", the practice of requiring companies to obtain licenses and burying them in reams of paperwork, promoting corruption, stifling even a whiff of innovation and essentially choking an industry.
Apparently, various arms of the Indian Government have their own plans to stuff their hand in the cookie jar. First apparently the Commerce Ministry wants every foreign investor to go through an intermediary agency called the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
A group of folks from various ministries, on the other hand have suggested that this hell befall only those foreign investors that dare seek more than 49% of a local pharma company. Either way, this is not good news for the Indian pharma industry.
You would think in a failing economy, the Indian Government, led by none other than Manmohan Singh, famous for bailing India out of the License Raj would not even think of suggesting protectionism.
However, like any other Government, they would like to blame their failings on someone else and thus would have you believe that India's impoverished healthcare system is a consequence of unscrupulous FDI. They may be unscrupulous, yes, but the bulk of the problem, all the way from apathy to lack of vision and corruption rests solely with India.
Someone should tell Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and their bandwagon of daylight dreamers that the Indian economy is not on a bed of roses. Rather than ease restrictions and make it easy for investor money to flow, the Indian Government is looking to take the country back and plunge it into the same darkness as the energy grids.
If they worry foreign investors would get carried away, they should put forth legal barriers, not imbue some Russian-Venezuelan axis of Xenophobic Hell on Earth.
If this continues, we will see that India's healthcare reach suffers worse than ever, drugs get pulled off the market, or never get into the market and the industry will whither away with stiff external competition.