Friday, April 29, 2005

Doctors Without Borders opposes CAFTA

The international medical humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders, released its testimony before the US Congress opposing the passage of CAFTA. Doctors Without Borders is concerned about the impact of the intellectual property protections granted to large pharmaceutical companies:

[Doctors Without Borders] has raised concerns about the following IP provisions in various free trade agreements:
  • New obstacles related to pharmaceutical test data, which will delay the registration of generic medicines (“data exclusivity”) and render compulsory licensing ineffective;
  • Rules that will confer abusive powers to regulatory authorities to enforce patents (“linkage”); and
  • Extensions of patent terms on pharmaceuticals beyond the 20-years required in TRIPS.
Each of these provisions... appear in DR-CAFTA and threaten to hamper generic competition – the only reliable mechanism for ensuring lower drug prices – and therefore restrict access to affordable medicines in the Central American region.


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