IMPHAL, Dec 6: Marking strong protest against the proposed signing of the European Union ‘“ India Free Trade Agreement on IP Provision, a mass protest rally was taken out today jointly by the Centre for Social Development in collaboration with organisation working on drugs and HIV/AIDS, North East Diaglogue Forum, Women Action for Development and Bosco Mangal, Chingmeirong Don Bosco Society, Imphal.
The mass proest rally which was particpated by about 300 participatnts was flagged off by the IFP editor Pradip Phanjoubam from THAU Sport Complex Imphal this morning and the participants holding various placards bearing slogans like ‘If EU-India FTA benefits People, why do you keep texts secret?, EU-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will bring another genocide, Don’t put trade above peoples lives, No privatization of water, education and our blood’ etc. covered various important junctions and streets of Imphal City today.
In the meantime, while conducting the mass protest rally today a spokesman of the organising committee revealed to the media that, right now the European Union is negotiating a number of bilateral agreements with countries in Asia and Latin America. The treaties cover a wide scope of products including medicines. And central to these agreements are provisions to strengthen protection for intellectual property rights. That means giving added protection to high cost brand name medicines and putting the squeeze on the trade in affordable, effective generic medicines. The consequences for our patients and millions of others in developing countries dependent on these drugs could be catastrophic.
Accessing affordable medicines from India is a lifeline for all developing countries, but this situation is now under attack, and the European Commission is playing a leading role in these attacks.
He further said that, millions of people in developing countries rely on affordable quality generic medicines produce in India to stay alive. In fact, more than 80% of the HIV medicines it uses to treat 1, 60,000 patients across the world are from India, and a recent study found that from 2003-2008, more than 80% of donor-founded purchase of HIV medicines came from India.
Now the European Union is dealing another blow by pushing trade policies upon India through a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and through the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that will both severely restrict the ability of India to remain the key source of affordable medicines in the future the spokesperson added.