PH, Indian gov’t execs to meet in March for affordable medicines for Filipinos
NEW DELHI—Officials from India and the Philippines will meet in March to discuss cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector, hoping to give Filipinos better access to affordable medicines and pave the way for Indian drug manufacturers setting up shop on Philippine soil.
President Rodrigo Duterte made a pitch to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for expanded Indian investments in the Philippines when the two leaders had their bilateral meeting ahead of the India-Asean Commemorative Summit here, according to Preeti Saran, Secretary (East) of India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
“President Duterte expressed an interest and his desire for greater cooperation with India in the pharmaceutical sector and agreed that a joint working group meeting could be set up in March to finalize the details,” she said in a media briefing on Thursday.
In a separate briefing, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the joint Indian-Filipino working group would pursue pharmaceutical development both in terms of trade and investments.
“That technical working group was given about two months to give a report on how we can really strengthen the partnership, the relationship between Philippines and India on pharmaceuticals,” he said.
Lopez recalled that prior to the President’s arrival in India on Wednesday evening, the trade chief met with the representatives of the Indian Pharmaceutical Export Council to talk about a possible collaboration.
“This was yesterday. This is not the leaders’ bilateral but our meeting, the DTI’s meeting. And we basically wanted them to focus also on key medicines that will be needed especially by the poor,” he said.
These, according to Lopez, include medicine alternatives for conditions like hypertension, high cholesterol levels, bacterial growth, and cancer.
Before his second meeting with Modi, Duterte had mentioned a number of times how he wished for India’s giant pharmaceutical industry to begin or expand cooperation in the Philippines. /jpv
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