Speech |

Open letter from MSF President to Indian PM Manmohan Singh on FTA

Speaker: Unni Karunakara, MSF President


"Honourable Prime Minister,

Ahead of the India-Europe Summit on 10 February 2012, where a roadmap to conclude the EU-India free trade agreement (FTA) is set to be agreed, the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) would like to draw your attention to specific harmful provisions in the proposed intellectual property (IP) and investment chapters, that if included would have serious implications for access to affordable medicines in India and throughout the developing world.

MSF today relies overwhelmingly on affordable generic HIV/AIDS medicines produced in India to treat nearly 180,000 people in 20 countries, as well as using medicines from India to treat other diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. India has played a pivotal role in supplying affordable generic versions of drugs used throughout the developing world. It is vital therefore that further barriers are not created that threaten the supply of affordable generic medicines from India.

As such, the March 2011 official statement by Minister Anand Sharma, against the introduction of ‘data exclusivity’ was welcomed by MSF and others given the harmful effect it would have on access to affordable medicines produced in India. We urge the Indian government to stand strong in this and in future free trade agreements, such as the one currently being negotiated with the European Free Trade Association countries of Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein...."

» Full text of letter from MSF President to Indian Prime Minister