The largest pharmaceutical firms in India are looking to push President Donald Trump towards favoring generic imports. On the campaign trail, Trump employed populist rhetoric and called on more goods to be made in America, instead of imported into the US. This rhetoric scared the Indian pharmaceutical industry, which is the US’s largest source of imported generic drugs. The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, a pharma trade group representing Indian pharma companies such as Sun Pharma and Dr. Reddy’s, is looking to lobby both Washington and the Indian government to ensure that trade between the two countries doesn’t slow.
The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance wants to help Trump see things from their perspective: that cheaper generic drugs imported from India will lower costs while manufacturing generic drugs in the US will actually raise drug prices for Americans. One talking point being pushed is that the job creation from bringing pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs back to the states will not outweigh the savings from cheaper generic imports. The Indian government could also look to ask for an exemption for generic drugs under any new border-tax policies that the new Trump Administration seeks.
However, an early assessment of the Trump Administration’s receptiveness to the Indian pharmaceutical industry has not been positive. The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance has sent a government advisory body a report stating that “the early signals from the Trump Administration do not augur well,” and said that the Indian government should attempt to make its case “without ugly confrontation.” Trump has repeatedly taken shots at the drug industry. At a January 11th press conference, Trump said that the drug industry had been “disastrous” and said that they were “leaving left and right.”
Indian pharmaceutical companies could be joined by other multinational pharma firms in pushing back on the Trump Administration’s talk of heavily taxing imports. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, which is based in Israel and is currently the largest generic company in the world, has said that significant import taxes could “interfere with the international trade of pharmaceuticals.”
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