India ought to work far harder at being the world’s pharmacy
India's pharmaceutical sector has been linked to multiple deaths of children in Africa and Central Asia, and the US Food and Drug Administration has sent notices to Indian pharmaceutical companies for not doing their duty to customers. The Pentagon is independently testing medicines intended for US soldiers and their families. Doubts about Indian drugs may lead to economic nationalists in the US forcing the onshoring of medicine production. India's drug regulators need to work harder to raise their standards to those prevailing in the Western world, consolidate all regulators into one, and put all generics manufacturers through the same tests as firms making new drugs.
Indians have long been proud of their pharmaceutical sector. It’s a big exports earner in a country that can’t have too many. It boasts a number of well-regarded, profitable companies. And its exports to other developing countries allow us to think of ourselves as benefactors, and therefore leaders, of the Global South. Our success exporting generic medicines in particular has led us to take a dim view of modern patent protections—and we have soaked up the approval of anti-Big Pharma activists in the West.