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Why would a developed country like the USA allow access to life-saving medicine to be restricted by greed?

I was so heartened to learn of India's commitment to providing generic HIV drugs: "India is committed to ... ensure the availability of affordable and quality to all people living with HIV," Deputy Permanent Representative Bhagwant S. Bishnoi told a UN General Assembly (in 2015).

So I was wondering, is India now a developed country, to make such a wonderful commitment? A Google search, however, shows that India is considered a medium developed country. Further, there is even an index for human development (HDI), and I couldn't even find India there! From Wikipedia's article on Developed Country, 

'Unlike GDP per capita or per capita income, the HDI takes into account how income is turned "into education and HEALTH opportunities and therefore into higher levels of human development." ' (My emphasis.)

What happened to the USA, what is going wrong here? Here is more from Dan's article...

India's contribution to making available life-saving medications affordable has been hailed by UN bodies and international organisations like Doctors Without Borders. They have rallied support for India continuing to make generic drugs. 

Doctors Without Borders has estimated that the availability of generic medications have brought down the cost of a year's treatment from $10,000 to under $80.


3 Answers


I support access to life-saving drugs. I don't know much about them. Everyone talks about drugs which destroy human life.

Virginia Kninjanin

Kninjanin, something I forgot to put in my question...the USA is putting great pressure on India to stop making the inexpensive generic drugs. I am going to write that for Tink and Rooster also, it is terrible!


Wow! You did some good research Virginia. I wish I had the time to do some work like that. You should be a data miner!

This intrigues me about the drug costs and that India has strived to make treatments affordable to all.

I'm not really familiar with how India's political system works but it seems that unlike ours the corruption and good ole boy levels are a lot less than ours and companies thrive better without it and produce quality products for a fraction of the cost here because the government allots the money as it should be done.

A close friend of mine found out that he had Hep C and was prescribed some pills to take that is supposed to cure it. Almost $500.00 a dosage! Or close to that as I don't know all the facts. He's retired and on S.S. and has a medical plan and Medicare. But after buying the first dosage set up, he saw on his insurance statement that they had paid an additional $300.00 on the drugs. He stopped using them because of the cost!

Kudos for India for the generic drugs they're producing!

Here? It's all about the money and payoffs run rampant. Plus we get told all the time that the generics from India are phony and to not waste our money on them. So, I was a little on the fence about this at first but after seeing these latest facts? I wouldn't think twice about Indian generic drugs from a reputable company.

Virginia Rooster

Rooster, I was surprised also. That experience of your friend with Hep C is heart-rending.

Rooster Rooster

@Virginia: It was to him also. Shame!

Dan Rooster

Virginia Rooster

Rooster, something I forgot to put in my question is that the USA (as well as some countries of Europe) is putting intense pressure on India to stop making the high quality generic drugs!

You used "was" in speaking of your friend...Hep C can be fatal...did he get the meds he needed, finally? I hope he did not die...

Rooster Rooster

@Virginia: Last time I heard from him? He was doing well with no problems. Guess he went to see a different Doctor as his medical plan changed and they took an Ultrasound and told him he had a fatty liver. 

I had told him when my ALT test was a little high a couple years back that a Nurse told me to take a good quality Milk Thistle Extract and within months, mine was almost normal. Now his is way down to acceptable levels. Kind of odd with two Doctors telling him two different things.

Maybe a case of Doctor + Drug Company gouging? 

I was always told that a Doctor that gives samples is a Doctor in cahoots with the drug companies. In this case? I might just be right.

Virginia Rooster

Rooster I am glad for your friend. I DO know one must be very careful about taking the word of physicians, second opinions are good.


Getting rich off the suffering of sick and dying people is a disgrace that is all too often a part of the medical industry in the US.

Tink, I wanted to add something I forgot in posting the question; and that is, I read that the USA (as well as some countries in Europe) is putting intense pressure on India to STOP making the generic medications available.

I find that puzzling, Virginia.  If the US and certain European countries want to keep the Indian generics out, they could just have their respective drug-regulating authorities declare the drugs sub-standard, or some such pretext.

Yes, puzzling...in fact, as a former health care professional I STILL feel tremendous caution about any imported medications. I would want to see them specifically cleared by Doctors Without Borders, or the UN. 

But maybe, O'Tink, when you have a deadly illness, and there is such a huge difference in price, i.e. with AIDS you can purchase meds for $80 per year that would cost $10,000 from US pharma? You just do it, black market...idk...

This is a new topic for me, O'Tink, learned from Dan; some aspects we don't know the whole puzzle...?