Kenyan court’s recent orders can brighten up the generic drug makers’ prospects in African market. The Kenya High Court has ruled that the government must review Kenya’s Anti Counterfeit Act, 2008, a legislation that could threaten the import of generic medicines.
The court has ordered the Kenyan government to make amendments to the Act so that there is a clear understanding of the difference between generic and counterfeit medicine. The Indian pharma companies that export generic drugs has in past repeatedly taken up the issue of anti-counterfeit legislation in Africa complaining that laws in Kenya create confusion between generic medicines and counterfeit medicines.
Such ambiguities in the law led to loss of business for many Indian generic drug makers that export HIV, tuberculosis and malaria drugs at low cost in African countries.
The judgment also stated that there should be strong anti counterfeit laws and generic drugs in the Kenyan market so that people have life saving treatment and are also safe from the counterfeit medicines.
Generics and Counterfeits
A generic drug is a pharmaceutical product, usually intended to be interchangeable with an innovator product that is manufactured without a license from the innovator company and marketed after the expiry date of the patent or other exclusive rights. Generic drugs are marketed under a non-proprietary or approved name rather than a proprietary or brand name. Generic drugs are frequently as effective as, but much cheaper than, brand-name drugs.
Whereas, the counterfeit medicine is fake medicine. It may be contaminated or contain the wrong or no active ingredient. They could have the right active ingredient but at the wrong dose. Counterfeit drugs are illegal and may be harmful to your health.
Indian Drug Firms in African Market
Indian generic drug market has increased in a decade. They are exporting drugs in under developed countries and to those areas where people are looking for cheap medicines. India is a strong supplier of many life saving drugs like malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS to African countries.
Indian drug manufacturers who already hold a 10.5% share in the US generics market in 2010. India’s total pharma exports to Africa grew 32.64% to $1.58 billion in 2010-11 from $1.19 billion in 2009-10. Indian companies have brought down the cost of drugs and vaccines in Africa.