Free Trade Agreements

MSF delivered life-saving medical treatment to over 7 million people in developing countries in 2009. Our work is being threatened by the European Commission whose actions could wipe out the generic medicines we use to save lives. Join our campaign and send a letter now to the EC Trade Commissioner telling him HANDS OFF OUR MEDICINE!

Free Trade Agreements Threaten Life-Saving Generic Medicines

Right now the European Union is negotiating a number of bilateral trade agreements with countries in Asia and Latin America. The treaties cover a wide scope of products including medicines. And central to these agreements are provisions to strengthen protection for intellectual property rights. That means giving added protection to high cost brand name medicines and putting the squeeze on the trade in affordable, effective generic medicines. The consequences for our patients and millions of others in developing countries dependent on these drugs could be catastrophic.

“Is our memory so short that we have forgotten the situation we were in barely 10 years ago? None of us could get effective HIV treatment.. because of the stranglehold multinational companies had on medicines. Now the EU wants to shut down generic production and send us back in time – when we watched helplessly as our colleagues, friends and families struggled with ill-health and death because some big company and its government decided to put profits before people.” -- Loon Gangte of the Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+)


Right now European negotiators are sitting down with their Indian counterparts to hammer out the final deal of an agreement to be announced in December this year. Despite condemnation by health activists everywhere, including petitions in Brazil and street demonstrations in New Delhi, negotiators have refused to throw out the damaging provisions which could put an end to the production and delivery of affordable generic medicines.

MSF relies on generic drugs made in India to treat its patients with HIV/AIDS. In fact, 80 percent of the antiretroviral drugs we use come from Indian generic manufacturers. Just imagine if we couldn’t source those drugs......

Selected Archive

New report calls India's generic manufacturing industry for antiretrovirals the "lifeline" of patients in developing countries. Indian-produced generic antiretrovirals comprised 87 per cent of ARV purchase volumes in 2008. Read more

MSF International President's Op-Ed in Times of India, "Don't Swallow This Pill" (19 January 2011)

Delhi Network of Positive People's Letter to Indian Prime Minister (28 September 2010)

EC Trade Commissioner's Response to MSF's Letter on EU-India FTA (25 May 2010)

EU-India Free Trade Agreement: Last Chance to Remove Provisions that Block Access to Medicines (26 April 2010)

Trading away the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS (26 April 2010)

MSF Letter to EC Trade Commissioner on EU-India FTA (6 April 2010)

People Living with HIV/AIDS: India must not sacrifice us in trade agreement in Europe (12 March 2010)

MSF's Letter to Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh (12 March 2010)

Last Updated: 11 January 2011


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