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ALDE insists that EU-India FTA insures continued availability of generic medicines


11 Feb 2011


Health & Consumers

During the final stages of negotiations, between the EU and India for a free trade agreement (FTA) which began in 2007 and will probably conclude this Spring, the ALDE Group in the European Parliament organised a seminar today to reiterate their concern over the Commission's alleged intention to include a "data exclusivity" provision within the agreement, that will delay and limit market entry of generic medicines, as well as increase prices.

ALDE MEP Niccolò Rinaldi (Italia dei Valori, Italy), organiser of the seminar and member of the Bureau of the EP Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases said: "India is currently the pharmacy of the developing world. Intellectual property must be preserved to ensure and stimulate innovation and future medical research but not at the expense of public access rights for life-saving drugs. We do not wish that the Commission push intellectual property clauses that go beyond the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement. These provisions would also go against the mutual commitment with India to the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Public Health whereby signatories pledged to take into account, where appropriate, the impact on public health when considering adopting or implementing more extensive intellectual property protection."

ALDE MEP Graham Watson (Liberal Democrat, UK), chair of the Delegation for relations with India stated: "The EU-India FTA has immense possibilities with mutual benefits for both India and the EU. In the provisions on access to medicines, there are areas of controversy between the European Parliament and the Commission such as data exclusivity, patent term extensions and Intellectual Property Rights. Of course, the Commission should not exceed its mandate beyond the TRIPS-plus provisions. We need a balanced approach that while it is not restricted to essential medicines, it should allow the negotiations to continue. We should also recognise the steps taken by India in this field."

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