Millennium Post

JP Nadda urged not to take donation from J&J

New Delhi: Several civil society organisations claimed that Johnson & Johnson's move of giving donations for the National Tuberculosis Control Program is aimed at inducing leniency from the government in a probe initiated against its products.

They have urged Union Health Minister J P Nadda to discontinue receiving donations from the company.

In a letter to Nadda, the organisations and patient groups stated that such ad-hoc donations threaten the sustainability and predictability of the government's MDR-TB treatment programme. Recently, Johnson & Johnson had announced to provide an additional 10,000 courses of tuberculosis drug bedaquiline (BDQ) to the Indian government.

The pharmaceutical company had previously donated 10,000 courses of BDQ to India's TB programme in 2016, as part of a global donation programme operated in partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

"The announcement of the new donation comes a full three years later in the backdrop of multiple regulatory actions and investigations by the Union Health Ministry into harmful medical devices and cosmetic products marketed by J&J in India," the letter stated.

According to the civil society organisations, the donations of BDQ to India not only create dependence on donations from a single supplier but also stifle the government's willingness to promote local production of BDQ by generic manufacturers.

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