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Trade and Health

UK uses free trade negotiations to impose strict intellectual property rules on India

UK and India trade ministers are meeting ,24 and 25 August, for another session on their 12th round of negotiations on free trade that began in early August 2023.  

The UK is using free trade talks with India to push for extremely strict intellectual property rules in India, and a deal may be imminent. If approved, these measures could threaten the supply of generic medicines to low and middle-income countries.

We ask health and development organizations in Asia, Africa and Latin America to sign an open letter telling the UK Trade Secretary to drop these demands. The letter will be published next week.

Please read the letter and sign now here by COB on Monday (21 August)

India’s generics industry is often described as the pharmacy of the developing world thanks to its strong generics industry.

India’s successful generics industry is made possible by a legal system which seeks to balance intellectual property rights with the right to health.

The UK is trying to tip the balance of those laws in favor of profiteering pharmaceutical companies, including by pushing for:

  • Extending patent terms, which would keep drug prices high for longer
  • Preventing Indian citizens from challenging the validity of a patent application
  • Implementing data exclusivity rules that would delay the registration of generic versions of medicines for six years
  • Lowering the bar of patent examination on medicines

Please read the letter and sign now here by COB on Monday (21 August)