[Ip-health] News: Medical News Today- India's Trade Minister Says EU Will Take Steps To Prevent Seizure Of Generic Medicines

Marine Avrillon Marine at haieurope.org
Thu Oct 28 04:11:24 PDT 2010

India's Trade Minister Says EU Will Take Steps To Prevent Seizure Of
Generic Medicines

Article Date: 25 Oct 2010 - 2:00 PDT 

"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," Reuters
<http://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-52332320101020>  reports (Lynn,

Sharma's statements come after "India and Brazil in May launched
ispute.aspx>  a legal challenge at the World Trade Organization against
the European Union after several shipments of generic medicines were
seized or delayed at EU ports," Agence-France Presse
writes (10/20).

"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," Reuters reports adding that "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," Sharma
said (10/20). According to AFP, "Sharma said Wednesday the EU's trade
chief had assured him that rules would be amended to prevent any seizure
of generic medicines transiting through the 27-nation bloc." Such
assurances came from meetings between Sharma and the former and current
EU trade commissioner, the news service notes (10/20).

In related news, Bangkok Post
-for-thais-with-hiv-aids>  reports that David Lipman, ambassador to the
EU Delegation to Thailand, on Thursday "pledged to ensure that Thais
living with HIV/AIDS have access to essential and affordable medicines"
after that Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS "said on
Wednesday it planned to petition him over aspects of free trade talks
under way between the EU and India."

According to the newspaper, "Activists are worried the free trade pact
would limit access to generic medicines including those related to
treatment of HIV/AIDS which Thailand imports from India."

"The EU is fully committed to ensuring access to essential, affordable
medicines especially for the less developed parts of the world," Lipman
said, adding, "[T]he EU has put forward a clause in the negotiations to
ensure that nothing in the proposed agreement would limit India's
freedom to produce and export medicines in accordance with the Trade
Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) Agreement and
the Doha Declaration on Trips and Public Health, notably through
compulsory licensing" (10/22).

Intellectual Property Watch Examines Concerns Discussed At Recent
Meeting About Counterfeit Meds Versus Generics 

Intellectual Property Watch
tive-on-falsified-and-substandard-medicines/>  reports on a meeting
about counterfeit medicines that included leaders from Brazil, India and
South Africa in Geneva. "Speakers, including officials, regulators, a
United Nations special rapporteur and nongovernmental representatives,
levelled strong criticism at those who traffic in counterfeit medicines
or in substandard medicines," IP Watch writes. "But they also had sharp
words for enforcement efforts from developed countries and their
brand-name producers, especially charging intent to confuse the public
about generics."

"Placing originator pharmaceutical companies in the role of policing the
quality and safety of generic drugs in developing countries based on
their IPRs [intellectual property rights] holdings is ceding an
essential role of public health authorities, and government more
generally," said Frederick Abbott, law professor at Florida State
University. "It is putting the regulated companies in charge of
regulation, a rather problematic turn," he added.

The piece continues: "Access to medicines is influenced by a variety of
factors, from regulations to intellectual property. Price can be an
'absolute barrier,' said Gopinathan Achamkulangare, the Indian
ambassador to the United Nations. ... 'The deliberate confusion created
by some interest groups, conflating the concept of counterfeiting -
which has a specific meaning in intellectual property law - with issues
related to the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines has further
confounded the issue,' he said."

The article further elaborates on the concerns expressed by some over
growing confusion created by "a push for conflating counterfeit
medicines with genuine generics." The piece includes comments by:
Mandisa Hela, manager of the National Regulation Authority in the South
African Department of Health; Sisule Musungu, president of IQSensato
think tank; Michelle Childs, director of policy advocacy at Medecins
sans Frontieres (MSF); Erika Veiga of the Brazilian National Health
Surveillance Agency; Sangeeta Shashikant of Third World Network; Maria
Nazareth Farani Azevedo, Brazilian Ambassador to the U.N.; and William
Haddad, who formerly worked under Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)
(New/Mara, 10/22). 

This information was reprinted from globalhealth.kff.org with kind
permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the
entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives and
sign up for email delivery at globalhealth.kff.org.

(c) Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.



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