27 April 2016 — Background: In the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) 2016 “Special 301 Report” released today, many countries are targeted for using legal tools to protect public health and access to affordable medicines.
Of particular concern is that India remains on the Priority Watch List, as in previous years, for what the USTR considers to be inadequate protection of intellectual property. India, known as the "pharmacy of the developing world," for its wide-scale production of generic, lifesaving medicines, has in recent years repeatedly been singled out by the US government and the multinational pharmaceutical industry for insufficient protection of the US pharmaceutical industry’s interests. Yet India’s policies, which promote generic competition and limit abusive pharmaceutical industry practices, including patent ‘evergreening’, are entirely compliant with global trade rules, and these actions save lives.
Indian generic companies supply affordable, life-saving medicines used to treat communicable and non-communicable diseases in many developing countries; these medicines are essential to continue scaling up treatment programs. For example, two thirds of all the drugs MSF purchases to treat HIV, TB and malaria in our medical humanitarian operations are generic medicines made in India.
Statement from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) USA:
"It’s outrageous that the US government is once again attempting to stand in the way of India and other developing countries’ efforts to increase access to affordable, lifesaving medicines. India’s policies save lives and are fully consistent with global trade rules. The US government should support countries, rather than penalize them, for not bowing to the persistent efforts of the multinational pharmaceutical industry to severely restrict generic competition in India and worldwide.”
- Judit Rius Sanjuan
US Manager & Legal Policy Adviser Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders USA' Access Campaign.