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Trade talks on patent protection violate right to health, allege advocacy groups

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1993 (Published 29 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1993
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

Eleven advocacy groups have filed a complaint with the United Nations’ independent expert on the right to health, alleging that a regional free trade accord being discussed in secret talks by nine countries violates human rights because it threatens to restrict access to cheap generic drugs.

The talks have “clearly ignored” right to health and access to drugs, the groups say, and “threaten to violate the right of hundreds of millions of persons to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.”

Last month aid agencies and patients’ groups from India and several Asian countries urged the Indian government to reject a free trade agreement it is negotiating with the European Union that they said may undermine India’s capacity to produce generic drugs (BMJ 2011;342:d1480, doi:10.1136/bmj.d1480).

The talks on a trans-Pacific partnership (TPP) agreement, which …

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