Loading images...

The Developing World’s Pharmacy under threat

October 21, 2010, the groups of people living with HIV and AIDS and health and HIV activists gathered in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center to campaign against the ongoing bilateral trade negotiation, known as free trade agreement or FTA, between the European Union (EU) and India.

hand off our medicines

The EU-India FTA negotiation creates grave concerns for patients in developing countries who rely on lifesaving generic medicines at affordable prices. India is the biggest generic-drug manufacturer country who supplies 80% of essential medicines to the developing world, especially antiretroviral medicines. Thailand is a country that provides essential medicines (e.g. AIDS, heart-disease, and cancer drugs) supplied by the Indian manufacturers to thousands of patients in the national health insurance systems. With constant and enormous pressure by the EU, if the Indian government cannot tolerate and decide to sign the bilateral free trade agreement with stricter intellectual property rules than the WTO’s requirements, that will be a health-catastrophic tsunami of the entire developing world.

With stringent IP rules, it will restrict the use of public health safeguards to address and/or prevent health disasters. In addition, it will allow the drug patent owners to extend their patents and prolong the market monopoly (longer than 20 years as agreed in the WTO’s agreement on intellectual property). Therefore, it delays the introduction of generic versions of live-saving medicines by generic manufacturers.

Moreover, the EU is trying to generate a new form of restrictions to reduce the competition of the generic-drug producers by introducing “border measure” into its FTA. With this measure, it will empower the customs officials to seize goods in transit (including legal generic medicines), if the goods are suspected intellectual property infringement, even though they are not patented or already off-patented both in the producer countries and their trade partners.

The India-EU FTA negotiation is expected to complete by the end of 2010. Please join in signing the petition requesting the EU government to stop forcing the India government to sign the FTA with the stricter conditions on intellectual property at https://action.msf.org/.

Post a Comment