Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

24 June 2011

India says 'no' to policy that would block access to affordable medicines

Via Médecins Sans Frontières.

India formally announced at the UN High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS that it will not accept data exclusivity, a provision harmful to access to affordable medicines, as part of a free trade agreement (FTA) currently being negotiated with the European Union (EU). 

Although this is an important victory for the global mobilisation against the potential negative impact of the FTA on access to medicines, further harmful measures remain on the negotiating table, the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.

MSF and other treatment providers depend on a sustainable flow of affordable generics from India to treat people across the developing world. Saying ‘no’ to data exclusivity will reach far beyond India’s borders in terms of ensuring access to affordable medicines in developing countries”, said Dr Tido von Schoen-Angerer, Executive Director of MSF’s Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines.  “This is a big victory, but we’re not letting up until we see all the potentially harmful policies off the table”.

By delaying the registration of generic versions of a medicine by up to ten years, data exclusivity would effectively have given a backdoor monopoly status to companies, even for drugs that do not deserve a patent under India’s law. The clause, which was criticised by global health actors including the Global Fund, WHO, UNAIDS, and UNITAID, threatened to further limit price-busting generic competition in India, thanks to which the price of HIV medicines has fallen by 99 per cent over the last 10 years.

The announcement by India at the AIDS Summit now means both the EU and India have officially confirmed data exclusivity will not be part of the FTA text. MSF is now calling on Europe to remove other harmful clauses from the EU-India FTA negotiations.

“Europe is still pushing provisions on the enforcement of intellectual property that are of great concern for procurers and suppliers of medicines, like MSF, as they put us at risk of litigation or court orders that prevent us from delivering medicines to patients,” said Michelle Childs, Director of Policy/Advocacy of MSF’s Access Campaign.

Read the rest here.

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

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