Will Access to AIDS Drugs Be Restricted by India-Europe Trade Agreement?
Director of amfAR’s TREAT Asia Program Raises Alarm
December 16, 2010—As negotiations on a free trade agreement between India and the European Union enter their final stages, AIDS activists and NGOs around the world are speaking out about the agreement’s potential to severely restrict access to life-saving generic medicines, particularly the antiretroviral drugs used to treat millions of people living with HIV/AIDS around the world.
In a video interview with APN+, Annette Sohn, M.D., director of amfAR’s TREAT Asia program, highlighted the damaging effect of a data exclusivity clause under consideration, a provision that would require generic manufacturers to generate new clinical data for drugs that have already been approved for use in their patented form. The overall agreement, she warned, “could lead to a severe reduction in generic antiretroviral production from India, where almost 90 percent of all generic drugs for people with HIV were produced.”
Dr. Sohn joins a large community of AIDS organizations, including Médecins Sans Frontières and APN+, a network of people living with HIV/AIDS in the Asia-Pacific region, in voicing alarm about the potential implications of the India-EU trade discussion.
According to the UN’s Special Rapporteur for health, Anand Grover, “India’s ability to provide low-cost generic medicines is predominantly due to its intellectual property laws…which allow for local generic production of safe and efficacious medicines. Restriction of generic drug production in India will have a devastating public health impact around the world and adversely affect the right to health of millions of patients.”