[Ip-health] letter from the Thai civil society to the Indian PM regarding their shift in position on TRIPs + provisions in the FTA negotiation with the EU

Jockey jockey.kit at gmail.com
Sat Mar 16 19:21:31 PDT 2013

March 11, 2013

*H.E. *Dr. Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister of India

Dear H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh,

We, the undersigned organizations from Thailand, are writing this letter to
express our grave concern over the Indian Government’s shift in their
position on the EU-India bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), which is to
compromise with the EU’s demands on strict intellectual property (IP)
protection, IP enforcement, investment, and other TRIPs plus provisions in
the FTA that will be concluded and signed in April 2013.

At the moment millions of men, women and children worldwide are dependent
for the present and future health and well-being on the low cost, quality
medicines produced in India.  In particular millions of people with HIV are
able to lead a healthy life, thanks to the antiretroviral drugs produced in
India. These drugs are purchased by governments, non-governmental
organizations and other agencies for use in treatment programmes in Africa,
Asia and South America.

For example, 67 % of medicines exports from India go to developing
countries and 92% of HIV/AIDS patients in low and middle income countries
use generic antiretroviral drugs mostly coming from India.  Approximately
50% of the essential medicines that UNICEF distributes in developing
countries and 80% of all medicines distributed by the International
Dispensary Association (IDA) are manufactured in India.  Lesotho, buys
nearly 95% of all ARVs from India and in Zimbabwe, 75% of tenders for
medicines for all public sector health facilities are from India.

Here in Thailand, we are particularly concerned about maintaining a
continuous supply of Indian generic medicines for use in the Universal
Coverage Scheme which ensures free access to treatment for all Thais.  Several
Indian generic medicines, such as HIV drugs (efavirenz and
lopinavir/ritonavir) and heart-disease medicine (clopidogrel), are supplied
to the public health system under government-use compulsory licenses.  The
Thai National Health Insurance Scheme would face major financial
constraints if the supply line of Indian generic medicines is disrupted due
to the Indian government accepting the conditions stricter than the WTO’s
agreement on Trade-related Aspect of Intellectual Property Rights, known as
TRIPS plus provisions, and the foreign investment’s protection mechanism in
the investment chapter, known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS),
in the India-EU FTA.

With the looming threat of these supply lines being disrupted by TRIPS plus
provisions and conditions in the investment chapter that are seriously
demanded of the Indian Government by the EU’s FTA negotiators, we request
that the Indian Government stand firm on their position of refusing all
TRIPS plus provisions and the inclusion of IP in the investment chapter
that maybe included in the final agreement.  In particular, we request that
special care is taken to avoid the inclusion of several elements that may
affect global access to the supply of current and future medicines produced
by Indian pharmaceutical companies. These include the following TRIPS plus


·                *Patent term extension*, which will prolong the patents by
a number of years.

·                *Data exclusivity*, which will make registration of
generic versions of medicines difficult.

·                *Enforcement provisions*, which require India’s Executive
and Judiciary to prioritise the enforcement of private patent rights and
which will effectively deter generic competition.

·                *Border measures*, which will make export of medicines
from India to other developing countries difficult, if not impossible.

·                *Investment chapter and the Investor-State Dispute
Settlement*, which will put the Indian Government at risk to be sued by
investors, if the Indian Government legislates laws and/or enforces social
policies affecting their revenues.

With such threats to the pipeline of essential generic medicines for the
developing world, we request the Government of India to remain strong in
ensuring that in no Free Trade Agreement does India sign away her rights
under international law.  None of the restrictive provisions mentioned
above are required under the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, and this is reaffirmed
by the November 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.

Sincerely yours,

FTA Watch

Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS

AIDS ACCESS Foundation

Alternative Agriculture Network

Friends of Kidney-failure Patients Club

Cancer Patient Network

Foundation for Consumers

The Rural Pharmacist Foundation

The Rural doctor foundation

Foundation for AIDS Rights

Thai NGO Coalition on AIDS

Drug Study Group

Biodiversity and Community Right Action Thailand, (Biothai)

Health Consumer Protection program, Chulalongkorn University

Social Pharmacy Research Unit, Chulalongkorn University

Drug System Monitoring and Development Program, Chulalongkorn University

Thai Holistic Health Foundation

Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand

cc:     Mr. Amand Sharma, Minister of Commerce and Industry

Mr. Rajeev Kher, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry

Mr. Saurabh Chandra, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and
Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry

D.V. Prasad, Joint Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion
(DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry

Mr. Keshav Desiraju, Additional Secretary, Department of Health and Family
Welfare, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

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