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INDIA=EU PACT 'THREATENS MILLIONS OF LIVES'

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INDIA=EU PACT 'THREATENS MILLIONS OF LIVES'

Post  Panda on Tue 14 Feb - 5:13

India-EU Pact 'Threatens Millions Of Lives'










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Protesters carry a giant inflatable medicine pill during a rally against the EU-India summit in New Delhi





12:56am UK, Tuesday February 14, 2012



Alex Rossi, India correspondent





HIV activists in India claim a new trade treaty with the
European Union will threaten the lives of millions of people around the
world who rely on generic medicines for their survival.



At present, India has a reputation of being the pharmacy of the developing world.


The country's drug companies frequently ignore the patents of pharmaceutical giants and make cheap copies of their medicines.










The FTA is criminal. It will kill millions of people
because of the EU and drug companies' greed. The new system will be
simple: if you are rich you will live but if you are poor you will die.


Loon Gangte, Delhi resident and HIV sufferer










The medicines are then exported around the world to people in poor
countries who would never be able to afford the branded versions.


But campaigners claim a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) being negotiated between the EU and the Indian government could end the practice.


The FTA will give India cheaper access to European goods and markets,
but in return it is claimed the country will have to show greater
respect for the intellectual property rights of drug companies - or face
prosecution.


Loon Gangte, who lives in Delhi and has the HIV virus, is worried about the future.


He currently relies on generic drugs, but fears if better medicines
become available he will not be able to get a generic version and a
branded version will be unaffordable.


At present he pays just £130 a year for his treatment, but claims a
branded version of his antiretroviral drugs will cost nearly £7,000.


He said: "The FTA is criminal. It will kill millions of people because of the EU and drug companies' greed.


"The new system will be simple: if you are rich you will live but if you are poor you will die," he added.


Pierangelo Gandini, head of mission for Medecins Sans Frontieres in India, said the proposed agreement would be a disaster for the world's poorest people.


He said: "It is not only people with HIV - which in India is nearly
three million people alone - but it will also affect people with cancer,
diabetes and hyper-tension.


"The price of drugs will just go up as new drugs will be protected by a cast iron patent," he added.


The EU claims the agreement will not affect access to drugs, but campaigners remain unconvinced.


They have been staging rallies on every continent and have vowed to
continue their fight, claiming the FTA in its current form is a death
sentence for the world's poorest people.

Panda
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