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Trump's Policy Not to Hit Indian IT, Pharma Firms: Union Minister

Indian IT, Biotech and pharma industries will not be impacted due to Donald Trump's policies as the US is expected to continue "the commerce-related attitude" towards the country, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers H N Ananth Kumar on Saturday said.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:January 29, 2017, 8:37 AM IST
Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, California, Technology News
Representative image. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Bengaluru: Indian IT, Biotech and pharma industries will not be impacted due to Donald Trump's policies as the US is expected to continue "the commerce-related attitude" towards the country, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers H N Ananth Kumar on Saturday said.

"Prime Minister has already had a telephonic conversation with the US President (Trump). As per the relations, we have been having with the US, I don't think there will be any change in the attitude of the US in terms of commerce-related issues. I also don't think, there will be any problem for the Indian IT, BT and pharmaceutical industries," Kumar said.

He was replying to a query on Trump's policy of protectionism at a news conference to announce the "Indian Pharma" and "India Medical Devices-2017" international conference scheduled to be held here from February 11 to 13.

Some of the key Indian companies have been sceptical about Trump's stress on protectionism, including the IT industry. IT industry body Nasscom has been wary about Trump's statement on visa-related issues.

Trump had said one of his first executive orders would be to order an investigation into all visa abuses, which industry watchers say could mean facing tough scrutiny under his administration by foreigner workers, including Indians.

Replying to a query, Kumar said a notification to fix prices of cardiac stents will be issued by the Central government in the next 10 to 15 days.

"We have issued a notification of price fixation for stents. I expect within next 15 days, the notification will come before the entire country and all the cardiac stents - steel or cobalt, their prices will be reduced in a great way and controlled as well," he said.

The health ministry had included stents last July in the National List of Essential Medicines, whereby the device came under the purview of price control of the government, Kumar said.

"The step was taken as it was felt that the margin for hospitals in terms of MRP of the stents was too high. The government based its decision on a sub-committee report that recommended putting all types of stents into the list," he said.

Asked about the action the government has taken against drugmaker Abbot India for alleged marketing malpractices, Kumar said, "Whenever a complaint comes to us in written format, we immediately take action on it."

Abbot India has been accused, in a report submitted by the British Medical Journal, of pushing its untested drug Surbex Star through free medical camps. The report also said the company s salespersons, or medical representatives, screened and tested patients who came to the camps.

Kumar said the government was contemplating making mandatory the Uniform Code for Pharma Marketing Practices which is voluntary till now. "We have come out with a code of conduct for marketing practices, but because the code of conduct was voluntary it was not adhered to properly. Therefore, after reviewing it, we are thinking of making this code of conduct mandatory."

Asked about his Ministry's Budget wishlist, Kumar said: "The proposal is that inverted taxes for both pharma and chemicals and petrochemicals industries should be rectified."

Under inverted tax structure, duties on finished goods are lower than the import duty on raw materials.

However, in the last two years, as many as 76 drugs and formulations suffering from inverted duties have been rationalised.

"This year too, wherever such a situation arose, I have brought to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's notice," Kumar said.

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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