India: Discussions with business leaders at CEO Forum & patent laws among other topics to be discussed during Obama's visit

Modi_Obama_Photo_Credit_Economic_TimesUS President Barack Obama will start a three-day landmark trip to India on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to build on what he has said will be one of the defining relationships of the 21st century. Obama, who is the first US president to be invited as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, will disucss some of the key issues at hand including of strategic importance, counter-terrorism engagemnet, defence, economic ties, civil nuclear & renewable energy with governmnet of India. Cyrus Mistry, Chairman of Tata Sons, will lead the Indian side to the forum of top chief executives from India and US. David M Cote from Honeywell will co-chair CEO forum from US side. While many are delighted with the agenda of discussions among the US President & Indian Prime Minster, health activists & organizations have expressed concern over the US government’s heightened efforts  to undermine access to affordable medicines from India. They are particularly concerned about dilution of Section 3(d) of the Patent Act of 1970 that allegedly restricts the vested business interest of pharmaceutical companies in US and EU in India.

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21 January 2015

Narendra Modi and Barack Obama to host 'Mann ki Baat' on air on Republic Day

Author: SPS Pannu, Business Today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama are likely to air their 'Mann ki Baat' in a joint All India Radio (AIR) broadcast to the nation on the Republic Day. This is expected to be the Indian equivalent of the joint editorial in the Washington Post that the two heads of state jointly wrote during the PM's visit to the US...Plans are also being chalked out for a 'Chai pe Charcha' between the two heads of state in the presence of select corporate chiefs of the two countries...Another function at the Sri Fort is also being planned by the US embassy at which the US President is expected to speak on "India and America: The Future We Can Build Together"...The USIBC will also host a separate CEOs forum. Around 300 CEOs have been invited for this separate CEOs forum.

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20 January 2015

Ahead of Obama visit, MSF warns US pressure on India could impact access to medicines for millions

Author: Medecins Sans Frontieres

...Obama visit comes in the wake of a critical decision by India’s Patent Controller to deny a patent to pharmaceutical company Gilead for the hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir—an example of how important India’s law is to encouraging price-lowering generic competition. The drug is priced in the US at US$84,000 for a three-month treatment course ($1,000 per pill), although studies estimate its production for a three-month course could be as low as $101 (about $1 per pill)...discontent is already being expressed and the patent rejection is likely to be brought up by US officials accompanying President Obama...India now faces a challenge: future access to essential medicines for millions of people will depend on the new Indian government’s decisions and the kind of patent and innovation system it endorses,” said Leena Menghaney, South Asia Manager of MSF’s Access Campaign.

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