[Ip-health] News: Reuters- India sees generic drugs row with EU being settled

Marine Avrillon Marine at haieurope.org
Thu Oct 28 06:10:13 PDT 2010

India sees generic drugs row with EU being settled


GENEVA | Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:17pm IST 


GENEVA (Reuters) - India believes a row with the European Union over
seizures of generic drugs will be settled without litigation, Trade
Minister Anand Sharma said on Wednesday.


The comments suggest the two trading giants will not allow the dispute
to undermine their current efforts to conclude a free-trade agreement.


Sharma said that senior EU officials had told him that Brussels accepted
the generic drugs had been seized because customs officers had
misinterpreted the rules and that the rules in question would be amended
in any case.


"I have every reason to believe that the assurances given at the highest
level will be implemented and once that happens that issue will be
resolved," Sharma told a news conference.


The dispute arose from the seizure by Dutch customs in December 2008 of
a blood pressure drug in transit from India to Brazil.


India subsequently launched a formal dispute at the World Trade
Organization with the EU, but has so far refrained from escalating the
row by asking the WTO to rule on the case.


The seizure led health activists to argue that the EU and other rich
countries were attacking generic drug production in developing countries
under the guise of pursuing counterfeits in order to bolster the
intellectual property rights of drugs companies at the expense of poor
people's access to medicine.


But Sharma said that India's generics industry had made a huge
contribution to public health worldwide and India would not discuss
anything in the negotiations with Brussels for a trade pact that would
jeopardise health or undermine the industry.


"It is very clear that the generics ensured availability at affordable
prices of these medicines to poor patients in poor countries, breaking
the suffocating stranglehold of the multinational companies," he said.


(Reporting by Jonathan Lynn; Editing by Charles Dick)



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