Kenyans Rally Against EU-India Deal on AIDS Drugs
December 10, 2010
On Thursday, protesters in Kenya rallied against a free-trade agreement between India and the European Union, claiming it would undercut access to antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). EU and Indian trade negotiators were scheduled to discuss the proposal in Brussels on Friday.
Outside the EU's Nairobi offices, hundreds gathered and waved signs of protest against the proposed deal, which a UN study suggests could make generic drugs more expensive. Under the deal, drug patent rights would be extended beyond 20 years, and data-exclusivity provisions would force Indian generic-drug makers to conduct their own clinical trials, rather than rely on existing data. Registration of generic ARVs could be delayed several years, the UN said.
"Unless the attacks by the European Commission on the future of generic production in India are stopped, costs will rise, ARV access will be rationed, and patients will die," said Hussein Kerrow of Doctors Without Borders.
Worldwide, just one-third of people who need ARVs are receiving them. In developing nations, more than 80 percent of those using ARVs get them from India, advocates say.
"We depend on these drugs from India because they are cheap and they are very good," said demonstrator Tom Osongo.
The protestors presented a petition to the head of EU's delegation in Kenya, Eric van der Linden, who said he would pass on the message but made no promises. "I am not a magician," he said.
12.09.2010; Katy Migiro
EU, India Leaders Meet to Discuss Trade Deal, Some Concerned Deal Will Jeopardize Drug Access in Developing Countries
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