NEW DELHI: India’s government plans to impose new restrictions on drug sales as new generic drug launches in the country drive out its own competitors, a move that could impact millions of patients, the government said on Monday.
The decision comes a day after a US study showed that India was facing a shortage of generics and was facing growing drug shortages, a concern raised by the country’s largest pharmacy chain.
India’s drug companies are under pressure to boost their share of the global market and face increasing competition from the United States, which has been expanding its dominance in the drug industry.
India will impose a one-year ban on new generic and specialty drugs being sold in the entire country, a government official said.
India is the world’s biggest producer of generic drugs, which can be sold over the counter or over the internet.
India’s health minister said the new rules would allow generic manufacturers to offer medicines at a lower price than generic brands, in line with international standards.
The health ministry said the measures would affect over 5 million people, including 7.5 million adults, 1.5 billion children and 2.3 billion children under five.
India has had to cut imports of generic medicines from Europe and North America in the past decade, and has been increasingly reliant on cheaper imports from China, South Korea and Taiwan.
India is the only major world economy without a market-based health insurance scheme.