[Ip-health] SUPPORT US IN OUR ACTION AGAINST THE EU-INDIA FTA

Prathibha Sivasubramanian prathibha.siva at gmail.com
Sun Feb 5 02:50:10 PST 2012


Dear friends,



We hope you received the call for action by Indian civil society on the
EU-India FTA (see below) and hope that you will be able to support us in
this campaign.



You can support us by (1) sending a letter to the Prime Minister of India
AND (2) by signing onto a global sign-on letter to the European Commission.




*1.  Write to the Government of India *

Your voices must be heard by the Government of India.  In the past, your
letters have made a difference.  A template letter to the Prime Minister of
India, which you may use, can be downloaded from
www.lawyerscollective.org/files/Template%20for%20letter%20to%20Indian%20Government.doc
.



For those of you who are in India, you can directly send the letter via fax
or email to the Prime Minister’s Office.



For those of you who are outside India, you can hand over or send the
letter over to the Indian ambassador in your country. You can find out the
contact details (addresses, phone numbers and emails) of the Indian embassy
to your country on this website:
http://india.gov.in/overseas/embassy_detail.php?type=IE/ .  If possible, we
also urge you to also seek a meeting with the Indian ambassador to discuss
your concerns.



*2. Sign-on to the letter to the European Commission *

You can also support us by signing on to the letter to the European
Commission, which is copied below.  We request you to email us at
ramya.sheshadri at lawyerscollective.org and aidslaw at lawyerscollective.org by *8
February 2012* (deadline) to sign on to this letter.



In case you require any further information about this, please do not
hesitate to contact us.



In solidarity,

Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit



---





Karel de Gucht
European Commissioner for Trade
European Commission
Directorate General for Trade
1049 Brussels, Belgium



*Re:  EU-India Free Trade Agreement *

*and *

*Re: Immediate withdrawal of ALL provisions impacting access to medicines
and right to health *



Mr. de Gucht,



For the past several years, health and public interest groups around the
world have been asking the European Commission (EC) to stop promoting
dangerous trade policies that threaten the health and lives of millions
across the developing world.



With ongoing negotiations on the EU-India FTA leading to the scheduled
EU-India summit in February 2012, we, the undersigned, call upon you to
desist from seeking the inclusion of provisions relating to intellectual
property in the EU-India free trade agreement as they will adversely impact
access to affordable medicines for millions of patients in India and across
the developing world.



*India – the lifeline for millions in the developing world*

As you are well aware, India is one of the largest producers of generic
medicines in the world. The importance of generic medicines from India is
underscored by the fact that in 2008 of the 100 countries, 96 countries
purchased generic ARV medicines from Indian generic makers. It is
indisputable that the availability of affordable, quality generic anti-HIV
medicines from India resulted in rapid scale up of HIV treatment in many
countries, saving thousands of lives. Millions rely on India for medicines
for HIV, cancer, heart disease, mental illness and other diseases.



As a member of the World Trade Organization, India amended its domestic
laws to comply with its obligations under the Agreement relating to Trade
Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) in 2005.
Amongst other provisions, it reintroduced product patent protection for
medicines. At the same time, India has made use of flexibilities available
to it under the TRIPS Agreement and introduced public health safeguards in
order to attempt to protect and promote public health. Health groups have
been using these health safeguards to ensure that generic production
continues from India.



*EU’s TRIPS-plus demands will undermine access to medicines*

However, all this could change because of the EU-India FTA. It is evident
from leaked negotiation texts of the EU-India FTA that the EU has been
negotiating TRIPS- plus intellectual property provisions with India.  While
the proposed text proclaims respect for the Doha Declaration, the
provisions actually militate against it.  In the long run, these will
whittle down India’s capacity to continue to remain a producer of generic
medicines. For instance, we understand that the EU still continues to
demand that India provide *data exclusivity – a well known TRIPS-plus demand
*.



We also understand that the EU is seeking *higher intellectual property
enforcement standards*, which include border measures, facilitating the
obtaining of court orders of injunction against suspected infringers
and *inclusion
of investment provisions*. Each of these would allow multinational
pharmaceutical companies – the very same companies who historically priced
medicines out of the reach of those who need them – to sue the Government
of India and Indian generic companies, in a bid to restrict the policy
space available to India to take measures to protect public health and to
deter generic competition.



We are also dismayed at the signing of the secretly negotiated
*Anti-Counterfeiting
Trade Agreement (ACTA)* by the European Union that has been severely
criticized by public interest and health groups who are concerned that ACTA
could harm public health.



*EU’s trade policies are undermining human rights *

The EU has always held itself out as a promoter of human rights and an
advocate of developmental goals of poverty reduction and sustainable
development.  Yet, its trade negotiations with developing countries belie
these claims. The United Nations, the World Health Organisation, the Global
Fund on AIDS, TB and Malaria and UNITAID have all warned against developing
countries, particularly India, being forced to adopt exactly the sort of
demands that the European Commission is making in this FTA.



We also understand that your negotiating stand is also contrary to European
Parliament resolutions. For instance, in 2007, the European Parliament
adopted a resolution on the TRIPS Agreement and access to medicines calling
on the Council to “meet its commitments to the Doha Declaration and to
restrict the Commission's mandate so as to prevent it from negotiating
pharmaceutical-related TRIPS-plus provisions affecting public health and
access to medicines, such as data exclusivity, patent extensions and
limitation of grounds of compulsory licences, within the framework of the
EPA negotiations with the ACP countries and other future bilateral and
regional agreements with developing countries.”



*We, therefore, once again call upon you to demonstrate that the EU’s
commitments to human rights are not mere protestations. *

* *

*We call upon you to drop your demands for ANY and ALL provisions in the
EU-India FTA and all other FTAs with developing countries that will
adversely impact access to medicines. *

* *

*Access to medicines is a right for ALL and not a privilege for only those
who can afford to pay the exorbitant prices. *



In solidarity,





---



*GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION: EU-INDIA FTA*

*6-10 February 2012*



*In 2001, India’s generics brought prices down from $15000 per person per
year to $350 for first line AIDS medicines.*

* *

*80% of people living with HIV in developing countries are on Indian
generic ARVs*

*Over 90% of pediatric AIDS medicines are supplied by Indian generics.*



*BUT ALL THIS COULD CHANGE IF INDIA DOES NOT SAY NO TO IP IN THE EU-INDIA
FTA*



This January, another round of negotiations on intellectual property was
held between Indian and EU negotiators as part of the EU-India Free Trade
Agreement (FTA) talks. News reports in India quote the EU Ambassador as
stating that discussions on Pharmaceuticals have progressed significantly.



On the 10th of February 2012, at the EU-India Summit to be held in Delhi,
the EU & India will agree on and finalize the political framework for the
FTA. Groups in India are worried – how have the IP negotiations progressed?



Are the EC and India progressing towards an agreement with includes
provisions that will seriously hamper India’s ability to manufacture safe,
effective and affordable generic medicines and export these to other
developing countries?



*WHY THE CALL FOR ACTION?*

*6th – 10th FEBRUARY 2012!!*



Since 2007, people living with HIV in India and across the world have been
resisting the pressure of the EC on India to sign an FTA with provisions on
intellectual property that will endanger access to generic medicines from
India. We must once more show the EC and the Indian government that our
lives cannot be traded away!



This is a Call for a week of Action across the globe from 6th – 10th
February 2012 on the EU-INDIA FTA.



The week of action is a run up to the EU-India Summit that will be held in
Delhi on 10th February 2012.



*OUR DEMANDS*



*REMOVE: *



§  Investment Rules, as they enable foreign companies to take the Indian
government to private courts over domestic health policies like measures to
reduce prices of medicines.



§  Border Measures, as they will deny medicines to patients in other
developing countries with custom officials seizing generic medicines in
transit.



§  Injunctions, as they 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, as they 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 EC states that these two provisions are off the table. It must keep its
word!



*PLEASE JOIN US -YOUR COMRADES- IN INDIA! *

* *

*In the coming days, groups from around the world and in India will
demonstrate against the EU-India FTA. We ask you to join us in sending a
clear message to the European Commission: our lives cannot be traded away. *

* *

 1.   *Organise your own rally*: You can organize rallies or demonstrations
in front of European Commission offices in your countries to voice your
opposition to their aggressive negotiations on intellectual property in
FTAs. Don't forget that the EU is also negotiating FTAs with many other
developing countries and making the same demands.



2.    *Raise awareness/media action*: Even though you might not be able to
support our rally financially or physically you can help us by spreading
the word about our concerns. Write an editorial in your local paper. Hold a
press conference. Issue a press release or press statement.



3.    *Write to the Indian Government*: You can also write to the Indian
Government asking it to stay strong and not give in to the demands of the
European Commission. India, as the pharmacy of the developing world, has an
obligation to its citizens as well as patients across the world. Please try
and meet the Indian ambassadors in your countries and convey to them how
important it is that India reject ALL the demands of the EU. Millions of
lives depend on this.



4.    *Write to your own government*: Public health programmes around the
world depend on generic medicines from India. Ask your government to tell
the EU and the Indian government to keep IP out of the FTA negotiations.



5.    *Share your actions*: PLEASE send us photos, articles, videos of all
your actions immediately and FOLLOW the actions of other groups here:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-the-EU-India-Free-Trade-Agreement/144687138908841and
here
http://donttradeourlivesaway.wordpress.com/



6.    *Donate*: In order to organize these protests, we rely on funding.
Any financial support is welcome. No amount is too small – or too big! If
you know organizations, which are interested in funding, if you want donate
to our protest, please contact us.



We plan to meet the aggressiveness of the European Commission with our
peaceful protests. There is too much at stake. Join us NOW!



*In Solidarity*

* *

*Delhi Network of Positive People & Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit*

* *

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



For information on the EU-India FTA see:



ITPC:
http://www.itpcglobal.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=126&Itemid



MSF’s Europe Hands Off Our Medicine Campaign:
http://www.msfaccess.org/hands-off-our-medicine-campaign



Oxfam: http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/trading-away-access-medicines








-- 
Prathibha Sivasubramanian



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