India-EU Deal Won't Hurt Flow of AIDS Drugs: UN
NEW DELHI (AFP) -- India has pledged not to curb its output of life-saving generic HIV/AIDS drugs in exchange for a free-trade deal with the European Union, a leading advocate for action on AIDS has said.
UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, quoted India's Trade Minister Anand Sharma as promising "to ensure quality generic medicines, including antiretroviral drugs, are seamlessly available" in a news release Thursday.
India and the 27-member European Union have been negotiating the wide-ranging Free Trade Agreement (FTA) since 2007.
But UNAIDS and humanitarian groups such as Paris-based medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres have expressed fears that EU proposals for the free trade agreement could make generic HIV drugs unaffordable.
The most damaging EU trade proposal calls for "data exclusivity" which would act like a patent and block more affordable generic medicines from the market, even for drugs already off patent, AIDS campaigners have said.
But Sharma said India "rejects data exclusivity clauses in free trade agreements", according to the UN statement.
Affordable medicines produced in India have played a major role in providing HIV/AIDS treatment to people in developing countries. …