What Trump’s visit means for India’s healthcare sector

President Donald Trump flew to Delhi on 24 February 2020, for a 2-day visit – his first after taking on the role of President in 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the President with an event in Motera stadium, a 22km roadshow and visits to Sabarmati Ashram and the Taj Mahal - reiterating his support for Trump in an effort to strengthen the relationship between US and India.

Modi and Trump announced a series of measures to increase points of engagement between the two countries, including major defense deals and agreements on healthcare and energy sectors.

As a medical equipment company, for the purpose of this blog post-ZEPNURhealth is specifically focussing on the impact of this visit on India’s healthcare sector. On Tuesday, India and the US signed two Memoranda of Understanding in the healthcare space, specifically addressing Prescription Drug Prices and Intellectual Property Rights.

US President Donald Trump emphasized on making efforts to reduce prescription drug prices and also stressed on the safety of medical products, further citing the Fentanyl addiction crisis affecting the US and other markets. India’s pharmaceutical exports are projected to reach $22 billion this fiscal year, largely due to improving exports to and stabilizing prices in the US market, which accounts for a third of India’s pharma exports.

Many life-saving drugs for tuberculosis, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, etc, are patented and extremely expensive in India. Due to the non-implementation of the Section 3 D (Section 3 D of the Indian Patent Act restricts grant of patent for "incremental innovations" in many drugs unless it provides significant therapeutic advantages to existing molecules. Source: MONDAQ), these patented drugs have more than one patent on them resulting in extension of monopoly in the market and exorbitant prices.

Another MoU has also been proposed, focussing on IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) currently referred to as a Knowledge Sharing Agreement, that might have a direct bearing on international drug patents.


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