[Ip-health] (no subject)

Terri Beswick Terri at haieurope.org
Mon Dec 13 05:55:41 PST 2010


Published December 11, 2010

Spare drugs, EU-India summit told

(Brussels)PROTESTERS wearing white medical coats staged a noisy protest
yesterday outside an India-EU summit to demand continued access to cheap
medicine for hundreds of thousands of HIV sufferers in poor countries.

 

'I've seen too many people die! We need to have these medicines,' said
Tido Von Schoen Angarer, of the international medical aid group Doctors
Without Borders (MSF).

'Hands off our medicine, the EU must listen,' he said.

 

The protest was staged as India and the 27-nation bloc continue
long-stalled negotiations to strike a free trade agreement, which the
doctors fear could threaten India's ability to provide affordable
generic medicines.

 

The protesters say cheap generic drugs from India are vital to lives,
particularly to the 33 million people living with HIV in developing
countries.

 

Generics from India have pushed prices down 99 per cent, from US$10,000
a year per patient in 2000 to US$70 currently. MSF itself buys 80 per
cent of its Aids drugs from India, and says it is currently keeping
160,000 people alive on the treatment.

 

'India is the pharmacy of the developing world,' an MSF protester said.

 

India's government spokesman Vishnu Prakash said that drugs produced in
the country cost 2 per cent of those produced by the world's
pharmaceutical giants.

India became a key supplier of affordable medicines because until 2005
it did not grant patents, enabling generic versions to be produced
freely.

 

Since 2005 however the World Trade Organization's Trips agreement has
forced India to patent drugs, though in a unique law the country calls
for patents only in the case of drugs that show an improved therapeutic
effect on existing medicines. -- AFP

 

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