On 2 March 2011, representatives of PLHIV Networks, Network of People who Use Drugs and health activists from across India are holding a protest against the India-EU Free Trade Agreement at New Delhi. Patient groups and civil society representatives from other countries, including Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines are also coming to India to seek meetings with Indian government to express their concerns. The rally starts at Ramlila Ground at 10 am and reaches at Jantar Mantar and is being held by health groups to voice their concerns against this FTA.
The protest is directed against the stronger Intellectual Property provisions being demanded by the European Commission in the India-EU Free Trade Agreement, which may hamper access to cheap, life-saving, quality medicines for patients not just in India but many other developing countries around the world.
The groups are demanding that the following provisions be removed from the negotiations:
1. DATA EXCLUSIVITY, as it will not permit the placing of affordable versions of new formulations like pediatric doses of “off-patent” medicines on the market by the Indian Drug Controller.
2. INVESTMENT RULES, as it will enable foreign companies to take Indian government to private courts over domestic health policies like tobacco warnings and measures to reduce prices of medicines
3. BORDER MEASURES, as it will deny medicines to patients in other developing countries with custom officials seizing generic medicines in transit.
4. INJUNCTIONS, as it undermines the independence of the Indian judiciary to protect right to health of patients over pharma profits.
5. OTHER IP ENFORCEMENT MEASURES, as it puts third parties like treatment providers at risk of police actions and court cases.
The next round of negotiations between India and European Commission will take place end of this month in Brussels. The EU-India FTA negotiations are set to be concluded by spring 2011.
The protest will be followed by a Press Conference at Foreign Correspondent Club from 2pm onwards.
Mr. Anand Grover, UN Special Rapporteur on Health will address the media and share his concerns about the grave danger this FTA may bring to the countless human lives in developing countries by drying up the source of good and affordable medicines. The other panelists will include representatives from International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, Oxfam India, Asia Pacific Network of Positive People and Indian Network of Positive People.
In solidarity, the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, Asia Pacific Network of Positive People, Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD), World Vision, Lawyer's collective, Oxfam India and Médecins Sans Frontières – Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines are calling for a global day of action against the EU-India FTA on 2 March 2011..
How you can join:
1. Organise your own rally: You can organize rallies or demonstrations in front of European Commission offices in your countries to voice your opposition to their aggressive negotiations on intellectual property in FTAs. Don’t forget that the EU is also negotiating FTAs with many developing countries and making the same demands.
2. Take Action: You and your organization can also support our rally actively. The more organizations speak out for our cause, the louder our message will be heard. Send your logo, your statement, banner, posters etc. to us and we will make sure, that your organization will be part of the protest.
3. Donate: In order to organize this protest, we rely on funding. Any financial support is welcome. If you know organizations, which are interested in funding, if you want donate to our protest, please contact us.
4. Raise awareness: Even though you might not be able to support our rally financially or physically you can help us by spreading the word about our concerns.
5. Write to the Indian Government: You can also write to the Indian Government asking it to...