HEALTH IS NOT COMERCE!
Dear members of the Negotiating Team of the European Union;
We write as networks of people living with HIV and NGOs from Latin America and the Caribbean to ask the EU to cease their harmful demands in the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiation that is taking place between
and the European Union. This negotiation clearly favors the pharmaceutical industry and puts financial gain - in the name of free trade - above human rights. India
In our previous letter dated 8 November 2010 we clearly outline our concerns about the negotiations, but as the text of the agreement is kept in absolute secrecy, we cannot rely on the previous response of the European Union that nothing in the agreement could affect access to medicines.
Although the text of the agreement has not been released, since negotiations are conducted behind closed doors - despite the impact it will have on all people not just in India but throughout the developing world - some provisions have became public. That is why we express our deep concern about the pressure that the EU continues to exert to achieve the inclusion of higher levels of protection of intellectual property rights in the FTA.
The provisions that have become public seek intellectual property provisions that go beyond international standards of protection established in the TRIPS Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), violating the principle of primacy of international human rights and international commitments to ensure universal access to essential medicines.
These provisions are known as TRIPS-Plus provisions and the pressure for their inclusion in this FTA by the EU shows contempt for the lives of millions of people around the world who currently rely on medications that come from
. The interruption of treatment will cause irreparable harm that will accelerate drug resistance, a situation that is already being created by Patents on newer medicines and other intellectual property provisions that limit access to second-and third-line drugs due to the pharmaceutical monopolies that keep medicine prices high. India
The adoption of the European Union's proposals would make an already bad situation much worse. We are demanding that the European Union immediately withdraw all provisions in the EU-India FTA that will impact access to medicines.
In particular we demand:
The following provisions are eliminated from the EU-India FTA:
· Investment rules, which allow foreign companies to sue the Indian government for adopting national health policies, such as measures to reduce drug prices.
· Border measures, which will deny access to medicines in developing countries, aware that empower customs officials to seize generic drugs in transit.
· Injunctions, which undermine independence of the Indian judiciary to protect the right to health of citizens over benefits of pharmaceutical companies.
· Other intellectual property enforcement measures, as they put even third parties, such as treatment providers at risk of litigations and subject to judicial actions.
WE ALSO DEMAND that the EU not bring back to the negotiating table measures such as:
· Data exclusivity, which will delay registration of generic drugs and will not allow the placing on the market for affordable versions of pediatric doses and combinations of "non-patented drugs." THIS MEASURE IS NOT REQUIRED BY THE WTO TRIPS AGREEMENT!
· The extension of patent term, as it prolongs the life of patents beyond the 20 years required by the TRIPS agreement.
We urge the EU to set aside this aggressive and shameful agenda, so as to ensure that the generic medicines industry in
India can continue its role of provider of affordable medicines and quality guaranteed to Latin America, Asia and Africa.
We demand that all TRIPS-plus provisions be removed from the negotiations and that the FTA negotiating text is made public immediately.
Likewise, we demand that the EU does not pressure the MERCOSUR to adopt TRIPS-Plus provisions in the FTA negotiations between the two regional blocs and that European Union's proposals in this FTA negotiation are also made public
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