EU trade deal threatens access to life saving drugs for developing countries

Mar 22, 2011

A new trade agreement between India and Europe would block access to life saving drugs for billions of people living in developing countries, warns an expert in the British Medical Journal today.

The EU wants India to adopt tough new rules for drugs so that no new generic drug could be sold in India without the permission of the company that owned the brand name version of the drug, writes James Love at Knowledge Ecology International in an editorial.

Not only would this have an enormous impact on the entire , it would also dramatically shrink the global market for inexpensive , warns Love.

It will also make a mockery of promises made by EU trade officials that governments would implement intellectual property rules in such a way to "protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all."

In 1970, India eliminated patents on drug products, which enabled it to develop a strong generic drug industry. In 2005, India modified its patent law, to conform to the (WTO) rules on the protection of intellectual property. But in doing so, India provide certain safeguards to make it easier to continue to manufacture generic medicines.

Now Europe wants India to adopt strict intellectual property protection rules that go beyond its obligations at the WTO, and which will effectively remove India as a legal market for early production of generic drugs. It will also restrict other access to much-needed supplies of affordable drugs.

Furthermore, the EU is currently negotiating this agreement with India in secret, despite its potential impact on billions of people living in developing countries, writes the author.

"Political and civic leaders from Europe and around the world must appeal to the EU to avoid outcomes that make it even more difficult to manufacture and market inexpensive drugs in developing countries," argues Love. "This can begin by eliminating demands that India adopt exclusive rights on drug test data, or lower its standards for granting patents on medical inventions."

Explore further: Drug research and development more efficient than expected

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU-India trade deal could limit generics supply

Dec 10, 2010

(AP) -- AIDS patients in Africa are nervously awaiting the outcome of talks launched Friday between Europe and India on a new trade deal that could slash the world's supply of cheap generics.

European office withdraws Nexium patent

Dec 21, 2006

The European Patent Office, answering a generic drug maker's challenge, withdrew a patent on Britain-based AstraZeneca PLC's heartburn treatment, Nexium.

Recommended for you

Drug research and development more efficient than expected

4 hours ago

Drug R&D costs have increased substantially in recent decades, while the number of new drugs has remained fairly constant, leading to concerns about the sustainability of drug R&D and question about the factors that could ...

Use new meningitis vaccines only for outbreaks

Feb 26, 2015

(AP)—A U.S. panel on Thursday recommended that two new meningitis vaccines only be used for rare outbreaks, resisting tearful pleas to give it routinely to teens and college students.

New antibiotic avycaz approved

Feb 26, 2015

(HealthDay)—The combination antibiotic Avycaz (ceftazidime-avibactam) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with complicated infections of the intra-abdominal area or urinary tract, ...

Tagging drugs to fight counterfeit medicines

Feb 25, 2015

The U.S. and other countries are enacting rules to clamp down on the sales of fake pharmaceuticals, which pose a public health threat. But figuring out a system to track and authenticate legitimate drugs still faces significant ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.