AIDAN: Open letter to the Prime Minister expressing concern over the EU Trade negotiations and access to life saving & essential medicines

Date 6th February 2012

To,

Dr. Manmohan Singh,
Prime Minister of India
South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi-110 011

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) members express grave concern with regard to the round of negotiations on intellectual property that continues to be held between Indian and European Union (EU) negotiators as part of the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks. News reports in India quote the EU Ambassador as stating that discussions on Pharmaceuticals have progressed significantly.

It is reliably learnt from media reports that on the 10th February 2012, at the India-EU Summit to be held in Delhi, the EU & India will agree on and finalize the political framework for the FTA.

We express grave concern that these negotiations between the EU and India are progressing towards an agreement which includes provisions that will seriously hamper India’s ability to manufacture safe, effective and affordable generic medicines and export these to other developing countries.

Background:-
Indian generic industry is rightly known as the ‘Pharmacy of the Developing Countries’
because:-
1. In 2001, India’s generics brought prices down from $15000 per person per year to  $350 for first line AIDS medicines.
2. 80% of people living with HIV in developing countries are on Indian generic ARVs.
3. Over 90% of pediatric AIDS medicines are supplied by Indian generics.

For millions of people in the developing world, access to essential medicines is often a question of life and death. Most of them rely on the affordable generic medicines being produced by countries like India.

Backed by the big multinational pharmaceutical companies, US, European Union and European Free Trade Association are pushing for aggressive trade policies to restrict the supply and production of the generic medicines. The attack is taking various forms but with a single handed objective: Pushing for TRIPS plus provisions through Free Trade Agreements and other  international agreements. The impact of such actions could be devastating and result in loss of millions of lives in absence of affordable medicines.

BUT ALL THIS COULD CHANGE IF INDIA DOES SAY NO TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP) IN THE INDIA-EU FTA.

AIDAN demands:-

REMOVE:
– Investment Rules, which enable foreign companies to take the Indian government to private courts over domestic health policies like measures to reduce prices of medicines.
– Border Measures, which will deny medicines to patients in other developing countries with custom officials seizing generic medicines in transit.
– Injunctions, which undermine the independence of the Indian judiciary to protect right to health of patients over the profits of drug companies.
– Other Intellectual Property Enforcement Measures, which put third parties like treatment providers at risk of police actions and court cases.

DON’T BRING BACK:
– Data Exclusivity, as it delays the registration of generic medicines and will not permit the placing of affordable versions of pediatric doses and combinations of ‘off-patent’ medicines on the market. IT’S NOT REQUIRED UNDER THE TRIPS AGREEMENT!
– Patent Term Extension, as it will extend patent life beyond 20 years.

The EU states that these two provisions are off the table. It must keep its word!

We urge you to look into this important issue and save the Indian generic industry from the onslaught of the multinationals, which in turn will save millions of lives all over the world!

Yours truly

(Dr Mira Shiva) – 09810582028
(Mr Srinivasan S) – 08056292350
(Dr Anant Phadke) -09423531478
(Dr Gopal Dabade) – 09448862270
(Mr Naveen Thomas) – 09342858056

This entry was posted in Data Exclusivity, EU-India FTA, Generics, Investor state dispute, IPR Enforcement, Patent infringement, Seizures. Bookmark the permalink.

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