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May 2, 2010

U.S. Trade Watch List Threatens Access to Lifesaving Drugs

"The U.S. government’s decision to place India, Thailand, Brazil, and other countries on its annual trade "Watch Lists" is a tactic that threatens access to affordable generic drugs for patients in the developing world, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today. ...

"Thailand, Brazil and India—the world’s principal producer of quality generic medicines—were singled out for insufficient enforcement of intellectual property. However, the countries challenged are acting within their legal rights when they limit the issuance of patents—such as in India and Brazil—or when they override existing medicine patents through the use of compulsory licenses, as Thailand has done in the past.

"It is unacceptable that the U.S. is continuing to threaten developing countries aiming to provide medicines to their populations, and disregarding international commitments to ensure access to medicines," said Emi MacLean, U.S. director of MSF's Access to Essential Medicines Campaign. "The U.S. is using its trade laws to bully developing countries into applying arbitrary pharmaceutical industry requests at the expense of millions of people who depend on generic medicines in developing countries." ...

"In India this isn't a trade story, it's quite literally a life and death issue," said Leena Menghaney, MSF Access Campaign manager in New Delhi. "Any attempt or threat to India’s ability to continue to produce quality generics—and the U.S. actions today represent just that—will have a devastating effect on people living with HIV all over the developing world. ... "

Read more:, April 30, 2010.