Out-of-court settlement likely on 294 combo drugs

Out-of-court settlement likely on 294 combo drugs
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First Published: Mon, Jul 14 2008. 11 42 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Jul 14 2008. 11 42 PM IST
New Delhi: Indian drug makers and the industry watchdog are inching towards an out-of-court settlement over a row related to nearly 300 combination drugs that had been ordered off store shelves by the regulator last year, industry representatives said Monday.
After meeting the drug controller general of India, or DCGI, here on Monday, industry officials described the talks as “useful,” “positive” and “on the right track.” The officials didn’t want to be named pending a final resolution.
Industry associations have been trying to persuade the regulator to let the 294 drugs stay on in the market until their safety and efficacy is investigated and then, if required, phase out some of them. Their main opposition is to a ban on all the 294 drugs.
DCGI and the industry have narrowed their differences on some combination drugs that had been at the centre of the dispute earlier, said one official from an industry body who attended the meeting.
He said some drugs had been granted approval to return to store shelves after having been banned and no longer figured on the list of disputed combo drugs. The official did not quantify the market size of this subset of drugs.
DCGI Surinder Singh told ‘Mint’ earlier this month that a broad consensus had been reached on the status of 144 drugs—19 had been granted approval and could be marketed, while the industry was willing to withdraw the remaining 125 from the market.
Monday’s meeting would focus on settling the dispute over at least half the list, he had said. “We are within striking distance of finding a solution,” he had said then.
These 294 beleaguered combination drugs—created by mixing two or more drug molecules that could cure multiple ailments through a single medicine—are sold under 1,100 brands in India and were banned by DCGI last year as their efficacy and safety profiles were suspect.
One industry body representing small Indian drug companies, the Confederation of Pharmaceutical Industry, had filed a public interest litigation in the Madras high court in November against this order and obtained a stay.
Concept takes majority stake in PR firm ZZebra
Mumbai:Concept Communication Ltd, a marketing communication firm here that is not part of any international network, has picked a majority stake in the public relations (PR) business of ZZebra for an undisclosed amount.
ZZebra is a communication company in the business of PR, book publishing and distribution, founded by C.P. Thomas and Pooja Chaudhri in 2003. Concept has interests in PR, advertising—especially initial public offering, or IPO, advertising—and media-buying.
Concept’s managing director Vivek Suchanti said the intention was to consolidate Concept’s PR business, which accounts for 20% of the company’s revenues. “We think ZZebra is a like-minded organization, which would give us a larger presence in the PR area. With ZZebra’s acquisition, we expect our revenues to increase significantly and in time...our revenues in PR should double.”
Suchanti said Concept, which already has a stake in advertising agency Akshara Advertising, is looking for local acquisitions in the design and digital space as well. He ruled out any alliance with an international network.
Concept has around 500 people on its rolls and gross revenues in excess of Rs60 crore. Anushree Chandran
IFCI looking afresh at stake sale process, says CEO Rai
New Delhi: Project financier IFCI Ltd is looking afresh at bringing in a strategic investor to help build management expertise and not for capital infusion, its chief executive said on Monday.
The firm will also lend Rs2,000 crore annually to maintain profits at current levels, Atul Kumar Rai said.
“The strategic investor would play the role of an angel investor and help deepen our expertise,” he told a news conference. “The capital issue is no longer with us in the same way.”
IFCI, which was running a loss until 2005-06, began considering a stake sale in 2006 after its capital base had eroded by 40%.
But with a capital adequacy ratio of 19% currently, raising capital is no longer an imperative, Rai said.
In December, IFCI rejected the offer of a consortium of Morgan Stanley and Sterlite Industries India Ltd to take a 26% stake over the issue of management control.
“It would not be possible to revive the earlier process. Those parts of the capital structure which were impacting us would have changed,” Rai said.
When asked if the strategic investor would be given management control, he replied: “Management control is inherent in some ways while inducting a strategic investor.”
“How far that goes depends on what we expect from the process not only for the company but also for shareholders.”
Of the Rs2,000 crore it aims to lend, IFCI has already sanctioned Rs900 crore of loans, largely to infrastructure, power and road projects, of which Rs310 crore has been disbursed, Rai said.
IFCI would not raise any capital from the equity markets this year, as its capital was adequate for at least 18 months, but was looking at placing some debt through private placements with institutions, Rai said, without elaborating.
Earlier in the day, the firm reported its April-June quarter net fell 39% to Rs151 crore from a year ago on one-time items. Shares of the company lost 4.92% on Monday to close at Rs37.65 on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Reuters
PM to finalize strategy today for key WTO meet
New Delhi: India’s negotiating strategy for the forthcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Geneva will be finalized on Tuesday by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath.
Nath, who will lead the Indian delegation at the meeting beginning 21 July, is likely to receive a “negotiating space” for a multilateral trade agreement with far-reaching consequences for the country’s farmers and fledgling industries.
But the commerce minister is likely to delay his departure for the meeting because of the confidence vote on 22 July in Parliament.
Commerce secretary G.K. Pillai will accompany Nath for briefing the Prime Minister, officials said.
Particularly in an election year, the crucial blueprint for completion of the Doha Round should ensure that India receives enough policy space for protecting 650 million small and marginal farmers in an otherwise open global market. For protection of Indian industries, Nath will seek a special and differential treatment under the negotiations for cutting import duty on industrial goods.
India is spearheading several alliances such as G-20,G-33 and Nama (Non-Agricultural Market Access) of the developing countries to ensure that the ‘development dimensions’ of the Doha Round are safeguarded.
However, the US, European Union and other developed nations and blocs are mounting pressure on the “large and growing economies” such as India, China, Brazil and South Africa to throw open their markets for both agricultural and industrial goods. PTI
PM to finalize strategy today for key WTO meet
New Delhi: India’s negotiating strategy for the forthcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Geneva will be finalized on Tuesday by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath.
Nath, who will lead the Indian delegation at the meeting beginning 21 July, is likely to receive a “negotiating space” for a multilateral trade agreement with far-reaching consequences for the country’s farmers and fledgling industries.
But the commerce minister is likely to delay his departure for the meeting because of the confidence vote on 22 July in Parliament.
Commerce secretary G.K. Pillai will accompany Nath for briefing the Prime Minister, officials said.
Particularly in an election year, the crucial blueprint for completion of the Doha Round should ensure that India receives enough policy space for protecting 650 million small and marginal farmers in an otherwise open global market. For protection of Indian industries, Nath will seek a special and differential treatment under the negotiations for cutting import duty on industrial goods.
India is spearheading several alliances such as G-20,G-33 and Nama (Non-Agricultural Market Access) of the developing countries to ensure that the ‘development dimensions’ of the Doha Round are safeguarded.
However, the US, European Union and other developed nations and blocs are mounting pressure on the “large and growing economies” such as India, China, Brazil and South Africa to throw open their markets for both agricultural and industrial goods.PTI
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First Published: Mon, Jul 14 2008. 11 42 PM IST
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