UK-India FTA would ‘ harm access to affordable, generic medicines from India’: MSF

Photo- msfaccess.org

India and the United Kingdom are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) since January this year (2022) and high-level talks are scheduled on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 summit in Indonesia. The UK’s demands on Intellectual Property rights in the FTA have been leaked by bilaterals.org. These demands say the Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), would harm access to affordable, lifesaving generic medicines from India.

Leena Menghaney, South Asia Head, of MSF’s Access Campaign says:

“The UK’s demands are seeking to gut India’s patent and drug regulatory laws of the safeguards that make it a manufacturing powerhouse. India is a major supplier of many of the affordable, lifesaving generic medicines that MSF and many countries rely on to treat people with diseases like tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and HIV/AIDS. The excessive measures included in the draft IP chapter of the UK-India FTA could jeopardize this.

Leena Menghaney

“Introducing more and more IP hoops for generic manufacturers in India to jump through will have a chilling effect on the country’s ability to supply millions of people around the world with affordable, lifesaving generic medicines.

For example, next year, the basic patent on one of the most expensive TB drugs, delamanid, is set to expire, but measures contained in the FTA would delay the availability of more affordable generic delamanid by several years.

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“The Indian government must reject these harmful IP provisions and demonstrate its commitment to retaining robust and sustainable production of lifesaving generic medicines at affordable prices.

“Given the disastrous consequences this leaked IP chapter could have on the global supply of generic medicines, the UK government should withdraw it completely. India should stay vigilant and not allow barriers to affordable medicines to be written into FTA negotiations.”

  • Report based on MSF media release on 2 November 2022.
By SAT News Desk

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