2nd March 2011, Rally Against EU-India FTA

RALLY AGAINST EU-INDIA FTA

Date: 2 March 2011

Venue: Ramlila Maidan to Jantar Mantar, Delhi

Time: 10:00 am to 12:30 pm

People living with HIV, networks of people who use drugs and public health activists from across India are organising a peaceful rally from Ram Lila Maidan to Jantar Mantar on 2 March 2011,Wednesday, from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm to protest againstEuropean Union’s attempts to push India to increase its intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement standards through the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.

India plays an important role in producing and supplying low cost, good quality medicines to patients not only in Indian but also the developing world. About 87% of the ARVs for HIV/AIDS treatment programs are purchased from Indian generic companies. The European Unionand other developed countries, at the behest of multinational pharmaceutical companies, have been attempting at several fora to increase the level of IP protection and enforcement in India.

India has already made changes in its law to comply with the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement. We are seeing the impact of this on the monopolistic prices of medicines, such as Pegasys, that have been patented.

If India agrees to the demands of the EU and agrees to higher level of protection and enforcement of IP, it will have further adverse consequences for patients. Such changes would surely benefit multinational pharmaceutical companies. But, it would disrupt production and supply of generic medicines in India. Ultimately, for patients in India and across the developing world, this will translate into higher, exorbitant costs of life-saving medicines.

Repeated representations have been made to the Government of India. Yet, it appears that the Government of India has disregarded our objections. Statements have been reported in the media that the EU-India FTA would be concluded by the end of March 2001.  In the absence of transparency in the negotiations, we do not know what the Government is agreeing to. If the Government of India agrees to the demands made by the EU, it will effectively be trading away our lives.

The rally is being organised to signal public opinion about our concerns to the Government. Our demands are that the Government of India remove all provisions pertaining to intellectual property from the EU-India FTA under negotiation. Specifically, it should reject all provisions relating to data exclusivity, border measures, other intellectual property enforcement measures and provisions linking investment to intellectual property.

We welcome you to join us at the rally. You can also support the movement by writing to: