Generic medicine: EC accused of doing Big Pharma’s bidding
11 October 2010
MSF (Médecins sans Frontières) has accused the European Commission of blocking the production of cheap generic drugs in the developing world, reports the Guardian. After the 2010 Doha declaration, generics companies could theoretically make cheap copies of patented HIV and other drugs. But according to the French NGO, the EC has recently been pushing for tougher patent rules in free trade negociations with India. “The EC wants to introduce ‘data exclusivity’,” the London daily reports, “which would stop a generic company registering a copy of a drug that does NOT have a patent for a period of time – usually five to eight years – unless it runs its own expensive and lengthy clinical trials.” Launching its Europe! Hands off our Medicine campaign on 7 October, MSF accused the Commission of caving in to multinational drug companies seeking to protect their drug monopolies, claiming that “millions of people across the developing world could see their source of affordable medicines dry up”. A Commission statement on the issue said that, “Patents are important, they need to be protected."