Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss has called for strengthening of cooperation in the field of health between India and Brazil. In his opening statement at the India-Brazil bilateral meeting here today, Dr. Ramadoss emphasized the need for cooperation in the field of research.

"We need to develop, in association with WHO, the capacities of other developing countries in legislating and implementing their intellectual property right regimes in a manner that would maximize public health gains," Dr. Ramadoss said.

The Health Minister delineated three areas for close cooperation among the two countries, first, get value from the countries' research and development efforts, second, to bring about lifestyle changes through traditional medicine system of Ayurveda and Yoga and finally cooperation in the areas of biotechnology and pharmaceutical products. In this context, Dr. Ramadoss stressed the need for harmonization of standards in the area of pharmaceutical.

Dr. Ramadoss gave the details of progress in health sector in India. He underlined the growing investment, paradigms shift through NRHM and India's successes towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Dr. Ramadoss stated that the visit will strengthen the long existing and historical ties between the two countries besides the bilateral cooperation in the field of health and medicine.

He emphasized bilateral cooperation between India and Brazil and South- South Cooperation particularly in the context of several commonalities between the two countries. He observed that both the countries can have cooperation in various areas in the health sector which are Chronic diseases, Alcohol, Cardio-vascular diseases, Tobacco control, bio-technology, neglected diseases, Organ transplantation.

Dr. Ramadoss recalled the implementing arrangement signed in 1998 in the field of health and medicine which envisages cooperation in the areas of biotechnology, health and pharmaceutical products, epidemiology, management of public health system, traditional medicines, infectious diseases and parasitology, maternal and child health care and family planning and tropical medicines etc.

He hoped that the counterpart agencies from both countries will be able to identify specific areas of cooperation under the MOU and work together in these areas.

In view of the huge population in India, he welcomed Brazilian Health Sector to invest in India which will be a win-win situation for both the countries.

He also stressed the need for cooperation in the field of research because of the paucity of new drugs with respect to diseases afflicting poorer countries and observed the need to ensure that intellectual property rights regime leads to inventions in neglected tropical diseases and does not remain confined to commercially viable products. He expressed his concern on accessibility and prices of essential drugs.

He invited mutual cooperation in developing effective vaccine for diseases like Malaria and TB etc. He invited Brazilian delegation to utilize the expertise of India in clinical trials for which India is a hub. He also mentioned India's strength in providing cost effective and high quality medical treatment which is being used by people from many countries.

Dr Ramadoss highlighted the ill effects of alcohol and tobacco, especially on the youth and sought Brazil's support for Indian efforts towards tobacco and alcohol control, including earmarking October 2nd as World No Alcohol Day.

He pointed out the benefits of the traditional medicine systems of Ayurveda and Yoga and stated that promoting healthy life styles to prevent diseases could be a joint strategy and that India would be glad to share its traditional medicine expertise with Brazil.

Brazilian Health Minister is heading a strong twenty-member delegation from health sector both public and private. In the meeting, presentations were made on industrial policy for pharmaceutical sector in India, traditional medicines in India and on the health system of Brazil.