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Aligning with both the Soviet Union and with the Pharmaceutical Transnationals: Dilemmas attendant on initiating Drug Production in India

Tyabji, Nasir (2010): Aligning with both the Soviet Union and with the Pharmaceutical Transnationals: Dilemmas attendant on initiating Drug Production in India.

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Abstract

The paper discusses the processes typically underlying the Government of India’s technological choices in the mid 1950s, with a case study of the pharmaceutical industry. It argues that questions of the future development of India’s pharmaceutical industry was impacted by debates over placing it in the public or private sector, and over securing finance from the government’s own budget,from transnational corporations or through Soviet aid. A close scrutiny of the trajectory of these debates reveals how the highly contested conception of the required scope of the production process finally emerged. This scope then determined why, when faced with an offer from the USSR for an integrated pharmaceutical complex also manufacturing dye intermediates; and from the German conglomerate Bayer for a standalone plant for chemical intermediates, both for drugs and dyes, the Government decided to accept the Bayer proposal.

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