[Ip-health] MSF: EU Parliament rejects ACTA allowing for continued access to generic medicines in developing countries
joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Wed Jul 4 05:02:23 PDT 2012
Members of the European Union Parliament have just voted to reject the
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) put before them by the European
Commission. Below is a reactive statement on the vote from Médecins Sans
Frontières (MSF) - we had been concerned about the impact ACTA would have
had on access to generic medicines.
EU Parliament rejects ACTA allowing for continued access to generic
medicines in developing countries
*Brussels/Geneva, 4 July 2012* - Members of the European Parliament today
voted to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) put before
them by the European Commission. International medical humanitarian
organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) welcomed the refusal of an
agreement that could have limited access to quality generic medicines.
“We are relieved that the EU Parliament has struck down ACTA”, said Aziz ur
Rehman, Intellectual Property Advisor for the MSF Access Campaign. “The way
it was written, ACTA would have given an unfair advantage to patented
medicines, and restricted access to affordable generic medicines to the
detriment of patients and treatment providers alike.”
ACTA was purported to protect against counterfeiting across a number of
industries, including for medicines, where it was held up as a way of
blocking potentially harmful ‘counterfeit’ medicines. MSF strongly supports
efforts to ensure that generics meet accepted international standards,
however ACTA’s overbroad definition of ‘counterfeiting’ and its excessive
enforcement provisions left too much room for error. Legitimately produced
generic medicines could have been seized and detained, hindering access for
people who rely on these medicines to survive.
The stringent provisions in ACTA would also have targeted third parties –
including treatment providers like MSF – by exposing them to the risk of
punitive action in trademark and patent infringement allegations.
Following the rejection of ACTA, the European Commission should review
similarly harmful intellectual property provisions being pursued in other
agreements, including in free trade negotiations. One such current
negotiation is with India, one of the world’s biggest exporters of generic
medicines, often referred to as ‘the pharmacy of the developing world’.
“The EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht should take heed - the vote on
ACTA has shown that these harmful policies are unacceptable to European
parliamentarians and some EU member states. The Commission should rethink
its approach on intellectual property enforcement measures in free trade
and other agreements”, Mr ur Rehman said.
Médecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign
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