Friday, December 10, 2010

EU and India Trade Deal Could Slash the Availability of Generic Drugs

From Yahoo News. Why does this affect you? It could cut off your supply of cheap generic drugs in the future, making health insurance that more costly, and don't even mention what it does to Medicare!

"AIDS patients in Africa are nervously awaiting the outcome of talks launched Friday between Europe and India on a new trade deal that could slash the world's supply of cheap generics.

Health activists warn a new agreement that raises protection for intellectual property rights for European drugs could have dire consequences for millions of people in developing countries who rely on drugs to treat diseases like AIDS, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease."


"...leaked passages of the draft treaty, seen by The Associated Press, give health experts cause for concern. One is a clause known as "data exclusivity," which raises the bar for Indian companies trying to get their products to the market.

For years, generic producers have simply had to prove their medicines are equivalent to the original drug to be approved. Under new rules, they would have to conduct clinical trials, which cost millions of dollars, to duplicate the data produced by the original company.

Activists are also worried about attempts to extend patent protection to beyond 20 years and measures to seize generic medicines as they cross borders."

Oh great--so now medicine is intellectual property. I suppose patenting someone's DNA is next.

"For European drug makers, the ability of Indian generic companies to make knockoffs without respecting patent rights gives them an unfair advantage.

"It is in the interest of European pharmaceuticals to have a more balanced approach to intellectual property," said Colin Mackay, a spokesman for the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, which represents the continent's top 40 drug makers.

"For companies that have spent millions developing a new drug, it's only fair they should get a return on their investment."

Mackay added that there are adequate mechanisms in place when drugs are needed for a public health emergency, and European pharmaceuticals often grant local manufacturers licenses to make their medicines.

But some health officials say any increased protections for patented medicines could put many Indian pharmaceuticals out of business."

So Britain is moving from drug price controls to cornering the generics market-this is what socialized medicine get you.

"Generic medicines from India cost from one-third to one-tenth the cost of the original brand-name drug. Von Schoen-Angerer said the cost of medicines could skyrocket if the supply of knockoffs from India is slashed and that donors would only be able to afford a fraction of needed drugs.

Last year, dozens of shipments of generic medicines from Asia were seized as they passed through European ports, ostensibly because the drugs infringed copyrights. The new trade deal, some health activists say, is an escalation of Europe's continuing fight against generic drugs."


"There's no profit in selling drugs to poor people," said Ken Shadlen, a reader in development studies at the London School of Economics. "If you make that more difficult, they might start selling something else," he said, citing generic Viagra as a more lucrative possibility."

Having fewer generics on the market as a whole means YOUR access to them might be suddenly cut off. Here's a plan to prevent the need for drugs at all.


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