Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) believes that the EP Committee on Development's draft opinion on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is flawed and should not be accepted in its current form. This opinion which was prepared for the Committee on International Trade has failed to address key concerns about the adverse impact of ACTA on access to medicines. Specifically, it has not addressed the following three concerns previously highlighted by MSF:
- ACTA is not restricted to trademark counterfeiting - All types of trademark infringements (including civil trademark disputes) are included in the purview of ACTA. The risks to access to medicines of such overbroad trademark provisions have been recently highlighted when medicines were detained in Germany based on the wrong assumption that a generic medicine, using the required international non-proprietary name (INN) ‘amoxicillin’ to describe the contents, infringed GSK’s trademark on the brand name Amoxil (which besides is itself a use of the INN).
- Although ACTA excludes patents from border measures and criminal enforcement sections, the risk that ACTA’s civil enforcement provisions will extend to all IP rights, including patents, still exists. Civil enforcement provisions are applicable on patents unless specifically excluded by an ACTA member state.
- Third Parties are still at risk: ACTA provisions clearly threaten access to medicines as they include stricter and enhanced enforcement measures by exposing third parties to the risk of enforcement in relation to allegations of trademark infringement and potentially patents infringements.Third parties such as API producers; distributors; retailers; NGOs, such as MSF, who provide treatment and funders who support health programs are at risk of injunctions, provisional measures, and even criminal penalties, including imprisonment and severe economic losses.
Learn more with our briefing paper: A blank cheque for abuse: ACTA & its impact on access to medicines.