Research article |

The reality behind the rhetoric: How European policies risk harming access to generic medicines in developing countries

Authors: James Arkinstall, Michelle Childs, Leena Menghaney, Nathan Ford, Tido von Schoen-Angerer

The availability of affordable generic medicines has been critical to expanding access to treatment for HIV / AIDS and other diseases in developing countries. In recent years, access to generics has come under threat by the global enforcement of minimum standardsfor intellectual property protection as determined by the World Trade Organization, together with additional policy measures promoted by the European Commission and others.

Data exclusivity, border control measures, counterfeit legislation, the undermining of judicial process and patent term extensions all threaten to limit the ability of developing countries to access affordable medicines. The potential harm caused by these policies is magnified by the fact that the global economic crisis is resulting in shortfalls of donor funding to fight HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.