[Ip-health] Civil society groups unite to protest America's pressure on India

Malini Aisola malini.aisola at gmail.com
Thu Jan 22 06:37:18 PST 2015

Call upon the Indian Government to not trade away the health of people in
India, and around the world

New Delhi, 22 January 2015

With trade and intellectual property rights featuring prominently in the
agenda of US President Barack Obamas’ India visit, community and civil
society groups are concerned that talks on these issues are rigged against
affordable access to medicines for patients in India and around the world.
This comes against the backdrop of ever increasing pressure from the US to
dilute India’s intellectual property (IP)) system and thwart generic
competition under the garb of promoting investment and economic growth in

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s return from the US in September 2014,
several developments indicate that the US is accelerating its effort to
weaken India’s pro-poor patent laws. Within days the United States Trade
Representative (USTR) launched an “Out of Cycle Review” of India’s IP
regime which selectively targets areas of concern for US businesses.

Bilateral mechanisms have been set up through the US-India Trade Policy
Forum and a series of meetings have been scheduled for the rest of this
year which will only serve to sustain US pressure on IP-related issues.
“The institutionalization of bilateral engagement on IP-related issues
provides the US government a platform to push the commercial interests of
its corporations” cautioned Amit Sengupta, convenor of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan.

In an additional attempt to intensify pressure on the Indian government,
the US International Trade Commission (ITC) launched an investigation on
India. A second investigation was announced in October 2014, even before
the report of the first investigation was released. The report, published
in December 2014, one-sidedly reflects US corporations’ stand which attacks
the use of public health safeguards such as Section 3 (d) and compulsory
licensing by India. Loon Gangte, President, Delhi Network of Positive
People (DNP+) remarked “public health safeguards under the Indian law are
the key to preserving the lifeline for millions of people living with HIV
who are dependent on cheap generic drugs from India. More than 80% of
antiretrovirals used in developing countries are supplied by India. If the
US succeeds with its bullying tactics, lives will be lost”.

“The result of the US pressure is obvious. The draft national IP policy
released by the government’s newly constituted IP think tank is glaringly
ignorant and promotes IP as the only solution for innovation and creativity
in India, contrary to any evidence” lamented Anand Grover, Senior Counsel,
Supreme Court and Director, Lawyers Collective. “The policy document is
completely out of sync with India’s ground realities and her developmental
needs” he added.

Dinesh Abrol, Convenor of the National Working Group on Patent Laws said
“US demands have been crafted with the intention of imposing stronger IP
norms on India, in line with the unceasing and false propaganda of US MNCs.
In the Indian context, the promises of the TRIPS Agreement signed twenty
years ago have not borne fruit. The Government must not only reject the US
demands but act proactively to address the current public health

In response to the ratcheting up of US pressures, 40 civil society
organisations, patient groups and community networks have raised a global
petition rejecting US actions that could jeopardise India’s position as the
pharmacy of the developing world [1]. The petition has been supported by
over 75 thousand individuals who will be directly affected by changes in
India’s IP policies.

For further information, contact:
Anand Grover (anandgrover at gmail.com)
Dinesh Abrol (dinesh.abrol at gmail.com)
Loon Gangte (loon_gangte at yahoo.com)
Amit Sengupta (amit37064 at yahoo.com)

[1] https://act.oxfam.org/india/save-our-medicines
Petitioners are: National Working Group on Patent Laws, India; Lawyers
Collective, India; Low Cost Standard Therapeutics (LOCOST), India;
Initiative for Health & Equity in Society, India; All India Drug Action
Network (AIDAN), India; Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), India; All India
People's Science Network (AIPSN), India; Medico Friends Circle, India; Wada
Na Todo Abhiyan, India; Campaign for Affordable Trastuzumab, India; Thai
Network of People living with HIV/AIDS (TNP+), Thailand; Thai Network
Coalition on AIDS (TNCA), Thailand; AIDS Access Foundation, Thailand; Drug
Study Group, Thailand; Foundation for AIDS Rights (FAR), Thailand;
Foundation for Consumers (FFC), Thailand; People’s Health System Movement,
Thailand; Thai Holistic Health Foundation, Thailand; The Rural Pharmacist
Association, Thailand; The Rural Pharmacist Foundation, Thailand; FTA
Watch, Thailand;Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), India; Asia
Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (APN+); International
Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), South Asia; Health GAP (Global
Access Project); International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC);
Oxfam International; Third World Network (TWN); Knowledge Ecology
International (KEI); Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network (YP-CDN);
Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK); Universities Allied
for Essential Medicines (UAEM); Consumer Association the Quality of Life
(EKPIZO), Greece; Health Innnovation in Practice (HIP), Switzerland;
Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World), France; Consumers Association of
Penang (CAP), Malaysia; Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), Malaysia; Health
Action International (HAI)

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