AFRICA: EU-India deal could threaten access to essential HIV drugs

Photo: Casey Johnson/IRIN

[www.irinnews.org]

NAIROBI, 9 November 2010 (PlusNews) – As Indian and European officials meet in Brussels to thrash out the details of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), civil society activists are concerned the deal could mean tighter intellectual property protections that could reduce access to cheap Indian generic drugs.

“The European Union is pushing for data exclusivity, which means Indian generics manufacturers would no longer be able to use existing studies to make identical drugs, a practice recommended by WHO [UN World health Organization] – they would have to conduct their own clinical trials, which would be unethical and redundant since we already have evidence that the drug works, but also, the data exclusivity could last anywhere between five and 10 years, delaying poor countries’ access to these drugs for long periods,” Michelle Childs, director of policy and advocacy for Médecins Sans Frontières’ campaign for access to essential medicines, told IRIN/PlusNews.

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