BURLINGTON, Mass., April 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources Group finds that certain multinational pharmaceutical companies (MNCs) are experimenting with new market access and pricing strategies to ensure continued access to India's large patient populations and expanding market. The Indian government wants drugs to be reasonably affordable for all, not just those wealthy patients who can afford them. This bar is going to be very difficult to meet because of the severe poverty in much of the country and India's low gross national income per capita.
India holds enormous appeal to MNCs due to the country's large population and high volume market. In 2010, India's population (1.2 billion people) was equal to the combined populations of North America, Europe and Japan, and it is expected to exceed that of China in 2030.
Certain MNCs are experimenting with new pricing strategies such as differential pricing; providing lower-cost, high quality branded generics to fill gaps in patient access; partnering with local companies to distribute drugs at lower prices; tiered pricing based on disease prevalence and gross national income—that is, the country's ability to pay; and/or drastically lowering prices for the Indian market.
In India, 2012 and 2013 were devastating years for MNCs involved in drug patent battles in India and 2014 promises more of the same. In its 2014 Special 301 submission, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America requested that the Office of the United States Trade Representative designate India as a Priority Foreign Country, the harshest designation for those countries that fail to protect and enforce intellectual property.
Price control of patented drugs is likely in the near term. In early 2014, the Pricing Committee for Patented Drugs discussed various price control mechanisms based on price negotiations, reference pricing and/or differential pricing. All essential medicines are already under price control.
Comments from Decision Resources Group Analyst Lulu Pickering, Ph.D.:
"The Indian government is pushing back on MNCs; driven both by the country's desire to improve access to healthcare and the unfortunate reality that India does not have the resources to accomplish that goal by itself. It is likely that additional price controls, cost containment measures and patent protection trade-offs will prevail in the near term."
"Affordability is the new bellwether for market access in India, and strategies must be devised that make drugs more affordable to a wider group of people with differing abilities to pay. MNC strategies that worked in the near past, such as targeting high-priced drugs to the affluent, will diminish in effectiveness in India's evolving commercial landscape."
"MNCs must ask themselves if time and resources will be better spent improving drug access for more patients or fighting uphill patent battles over issues such as Section 3(d) patent restrictions on incremental drug improvements. India is unabashed in rejecting TRIPS*-plus intellectual property provisions and has a sovereign right to develop its own intellectual property landscape."
* The World Trade Organization's Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.
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