Hands Off Our Medicine

According to Medicins sans frontieres, the EU is trying to use its trade talks with India to constrain the possibilities of this country’s firms to produce generic drugs. Because 80% of the world generics are coming from India, it would be of huge harm to people in developing countries who cannot afford their AIDS/HIV and other drugs from the actual patent holders – they are fully dependent on generics.

The provisions in the Free Trade Agreement under discussion could seriously impede generic medicines producers in India from delivering more affordable and quality generic versions of medicines for people in developing countries. MSF itself could not carry out much of its medical humanitarian work without access to these drugs.

Therefore, the MSF started a campaign calling the European Commission not to demand such provisions from India or any other country with which the EU is discussing a free trade agreement.

I actually don’t understand why the availability of generics in the 3rd World should be a problem. It is not complicated for the EU (or the US, for this matter) to ban the import of such drugs. Poor people in Africa, South Asia etc. just cannot afford the prices demanded by the patent holders for life-saving drugs. So there just is no market for the Western pharmaceutical corporations. By allowing the firms from India to produce and sell generics they are not losing anything. So, why?

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