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[e-drug] MSF: EU Parliament rejects ACTA

E-DRUG: MSF: EU Parliament rejects ACTA

Members of the European Union Parliament have just voted to reject the
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) put before them by the European
Commission. Below is a reactive statement on the vote from Medecins Sans
Frontieres (MSF) - we had been concerned about the impact ACTA would have
had on access to generic medicines.

EU Parliament rejects ACTA allowing for continued access to generic
medicines in developing countries

Brussels/Geneva, 4 July 2012 - Members of the European Parliament today voted 
to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) put before them by the 
European Commission. International medical humanitarian organisation Medecins 
Sans Frontieres (MSF) welcomed the refusal of an agreement that could have 
limited access to quality generic medicines.

�We are relieved that the EU Parliament has struck down ACTA�, said Aziz ur 
Rehman, Intellectual Property Advisor for the MSF Access Campaign. �The way it 
was written, ACTA would have given an unfair advantage to patented medicines, 
and restricted access to affordable generic medicines to the
detriment of patients and treatment providers alike.��

ACTA was purported to protect against counterfeiting across a number of 
industries, including for medicines, where it was held up as a way of blocking 
potentially harmful �counterfeit� medicines. MSF strongly supports efforts to 
ensure that generics meet accepted international standards,
however ACTA�s overbroad definition of �counterfeiting� and its excessive 
enforcement provisions left too much room for error. Legitimately produced 
generic medicines could have been seized and detained, hindering access for 
people who rely on these medicines to survive.

The stringent provisions in ACTA would also have targeted third parties - 
including treatment providers like MSF - by exposing them to the risk of 
punitive action in trademark and patent infringement allegations.

Following the rejection of ACTA, the European Commission should review 
similarly harmful intellectual property provisions being pursued in other 
agreements, including in free trade negotiations. One such current negotiation 
is with India, one of the world’s biggest exporters of generic medicines, often 
referred to as ‘the pharmacy of the developing world’.

�The EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht should take heed - the vote on ACTA 
has shown that these harmful policies are unacceptable to European 
parliamentarians and some EU member states. The Commission should rethink its 
approach on intellectual property enforcement measures in free trade and other 
agreements�, Mr ur Rehman said.

Joanna Keenan
Press Officer
MEdecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign
E: joanna.keenan[at]geneva.msf.org
T: twitter.com/joanna_keenan


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