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Ecuadorean envoy pointed out that generic medicine ‘can cost up to 10 times more’ in South/Latin America than in India

New Delhi: Looking ahead in a post-Coronavirus pandemic scenario, South/Latin American nations such as Ecuador, Brazil, Peru and Costa Rica are looking for cheaper generic pharmaceutical drugs from India which is one of the largest global producers of medicines, Ecuador’s Ambassador Hector Cueva Jacome has said.

Incidentally, the South American continent has also been badly hit by the pandemic, with south American nation Brazil currently ranking second in both the overall number of Coronavirus cases as well the death toll globally due to the pandemic, after the United States.

Speaking last week at a Virtual meeting organised by trade body FICCI, the Ecuador envoy Mr. Jacome said, “What is sought after is the democratisation of medicines in Latin America where many people do not have access to medicines due to their high cost.” Mr. Jacome said that his own country Ecuador would be economically battered by the pandemic and would need to “improve the purchasing processes” of medicines from India through government agreements.

The Ecuadorean envoy pointed out that generic drugs “can cost up to 10 times more” in South/Latin America than in India and therefore called for negotiating government agreements that allow them direct access to the Indian generic market. He added that Ecuador and other countries in the continent are therefore looking to emulate Costa Rica which is expecting to soon ink a government-to-government agreement to buy generic medicines without going through intermediaries that is estimated to save up to half of Costa Rica’s total medical costs that it has usually incurred for this.

It may be recalled that amid the coronavirus pandemic, India’s message to the rest of the world in the past few months has been that “India will be a reliable partner on medicines”.

From Latin and South America to the United States, across Africa, Europe, the Gulf region, South-east Asia, Australia and East Asia, it is a message that has resonated with India’s friends in their hour of need.

India had even declared that it has remained responsible in living up to its international commitments on the supply of medicines during the pandemic which has enhanced its reputation of being the “pharmacy to the world”. 

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