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European Unionís Trade Agenda Causing Damage To Public Health In Developing Countries

by Aruna on October 22, 2009 at 10:50 AM
European Unionís Trade Agenda Causing Damage To Public Health In Developing Countries

Two non-governmental organizations said that the European Union is putting the interests of big drug companies ahead of those of millions of people without access to essential medicines.

The EU's executive arm, the European Commission, was also accused of acting against the spirit of world trade rules, in a new report by Oxfam International and Health Action International (HAI).


The report said the EU was leading a heavy-handed investigation into intellectual property abuses in the pharmaceutical sector which has driven up prices and deprived developing countries of generic medicines.

"A crackdown on European pharmaceutical prices is happening alongside a concerted effort to further push intellectual property rules that prevent poor countries from buying affordable medicines," said Oxfam official Elise Ford.

"Millions of poor people have to pay for medicines out of their own pockets so even a small price rise can make them unaffordable. Europe's policies are directly responsible for this scandal," she said.

The policy, the report said, has increased the price of medicines and this hits poorer people hardest. It said other policies were delaying the passage of generic medicines and obstructing research.

The measures end up supporting the commercial interests of the pharmaceutical industry, while limiting access to drugs and reducing opportunities make more innovative products, the NGOs said.

"The EU must accept its moral and legal obligations. There is growing evidence that the EU's trade agenda is causing severe damage to public health in developing countries," said HAI's Sophie Bloemen.

Source: AFP
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