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India An Indispensable Partner Of The United States For Pharmaceutical Supply: US Health Secretary

We depend on India, India depends on us and together we can both thrive when it comes to making sure medicines are available not just to our people but to the world, said US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra

India Is Indispensable Partner Of US For Pharmaceutical Supply: US Health Secretary
India's role in the healthcare sector has expanded after the COVID-19 pandemic, said US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra

Gandhinagar: India is an indispensable partner of the United States for the supply of pharmaceutical products, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said on Friday (August 18). A top official of his country will be visiting India very soon to address the issue of shortage of some crucial drugs including those for cancer in the US, he said. Mr Becerra told reporters here,

We have a very strong and dependent relationship with India when it comes to pharmaceuticals. We depend on India, India depends on us and together we can both thrive when it comes to making sure medicines are available not just to our people but to the world.

He was in Gandhinagar to take part in the G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting as well as bilateral meetings with other countries.

The US is experiencing disruptions in the supply of some cancer drugs, he said.

When asked if he has any plans to meet Indian officials or industry leaders to address the shortage of cancer drugs, Becerra said that is the reason why US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Commissioner Robert Califf will be visiting India soon. Mr. Becerra said,

Because we don’t want to see any shortage in supply of any medicines. There have been disruptions in the supply chain for some of the drugs for cancer. India is such an indispensable partner in helping America to have the pharmaceuticals that it needs.

The US is eyeing to increase the domestic capacity for the production of such crucial drugs, but still, it will not be enough. He said,

Strong partners like India make it possible for us to provide our people with the medicines that they need.

Also Read: COVID-19 Pandemic Reminded Us That Health Should Be At Centre Of Our Decisions: PM Modi At G20 Health Ministers Meet 

Asked about the concerns raised by a US committee about the quality of medicines coming from India, the health secretary clearly said the US wanted the drugs sold in the country to be safe. He said,

We want the drugs sold in our country safe and effective. This applies in India also. I don’t see the regulatory regime which the US uses as a challenge (for Indian companies). It is a standard if Indian companies wish to sell products in the US. If India wants to make sure that they have companies which can meet those standards, we are absolutely willing to work with them.

The US standards are transparent, he said, adding that his country wants India to continue to be a, “good partner in the exchange of pharmaceuticals.”

“That requires Indian companies to meet US standards, if they wish to export to us,” Mr. Becerra said.

He also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that India’s role in the healthcare sector has expanded after the COVID-19 pandemic. He said,

We can not let another world crisis, a pandemic, hit us, like Covid did. We know we have to work together. By the way, this is where India’s role has increased dramatically. I think Prime Minister Narendra Modi recognises, people also recognise that India is at a different place than it was a few decades ago. And this is the time when India can show that it is a world leader in this space.

When asked if the US has made up its mind to onboard the digital health platform to be presented by India during the G20 meeting, the secretary said the discussions are still going on because it can prove to be “very dangerous” sans clear standards or road map. He said,

Well, we certainly understand the importance of having digital platforms, especially now with AI really coming into play. At the same time we have to have standards in place so that we don’t let those same technologies be used to harm our people. And so, all those are the considerations that people are working on. Without clear standards or roadmap, such an initiative could be very dangerous if we don’t have the ability to really know how we’re going to use this.

Also Read: Pandemic Taught Us That Nobody Is Safe Until Everyone Is Safe: Union Minister Dr Bharati Pawar 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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