“Thousands march in India against EU trade deal,” headlines the EUobserver. With the EU on the verge of concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India, its largest trading partner, HIV-positive protesters took to the streets of New Delhi on 2 March concerned that the union is seeking to put an end to the production of affordable life-prolonging drugs. Since negotiations opened in 2007, the EU has pushed for a “data-exclusivity” clause which would protect intellectual property rights with respect to drugs. “European drug manufacturers complain that many of their patented products are frequently undercut by generics produced in India,” the Brussels website notes. Data exclusivity would mean that “clinical trial data filed by one company could not be relied upon by other companies,” critics argues. “As a result, the need for each firm to produce its own clinical trial tests would dramatically increase the price of medicines.” According to Anand Grover, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, “It would be a colossal mistake to introduce data exclusivity in India, when millions of people across the globe depend on the country as the pharmacy of the developing world.”
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