Nearly 100 Organisations Press For Better Medicines Access In Asian Region RCEP Agreement 19/10/2016 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Nearly 100 health, community and development organisations working in the Asia-Pacific region issued a call for trade ministers negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement to “reject provisions that would negatively affect access to generic medicines.” Negotiators are meeting from 17-22 October in China, and the concern is about the intellectual property chapter of the deal. In addition, a letter was sent to ambassadors based in India by the Delhi Network of Positive People and International Treatment Preparedness Coalition- South Asia (ITPC-South Asia), organisations “working with people living with HIV and HCV with an aim to achieve universal access to treatment and care.” The 95 groups’ letter is available here. The Indian groups’ letter is available here. The RCEP is being negotiated by the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and countries with existing FTAs with ASEAN, including Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. According to the 95-group letter, the IP chapter of an earlier leaked draft of the agreement appeared to be lifted from the US-Korea free trade agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. That draft showed that South Korea and Japan were “pushing for data exclusivity, a measure that could delay regulatory approval for medicines that are off patent, and provisions that will lengthen medicine patent monopoly periods. This will only serve to delay the market entry of affordable generic medicines,” the letter said. “We call on you to communicate our concerns to your government and your negotiators regarding the inclusion of harmful provisions in the RCEP agreement that could jeopardise access to lifesaving, affordable medicines,” said the groups in India. “Millions of lives across the developing world are at stake in this trade deal.” The Indian groups made four requests. They asked that TRIPS-Plus provisions, which they said are “damaging to early introduction or blocking registration of affordable generic medicines such as patent term extensions and data exclusivity” be removed by Japanese and South Korean negotiators. TRIPS refers to the 1994 World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Second, they called for deletion of patents and test data from the entire scope of the enforcement section, as the draft language “omits several procedural guarantees, safeguards and protections available under WTO trade rules and are a blank cheque for abuse, with numerous provisions that will prevent the flow of generic medicines from producer to patient,” they said. Third, the IP chapter might force least-developed countries (LDCs such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Lao) to “prematurely adopt patents and other IP barriers that block supply and registration of low cost generic medicines,” they said. This is despite the fact that LDCs have until 2033 to apply or enforce TRIPS provisions concerning patents as well as test data protection, in relation to pharmaceutical products. And the final concern is about investor-state dispute settlement procedures. request RCEP negotiators from your country to not extend the definition of investment to include intellectual property and to exclude the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. If included in the trade deal, RCEP will be further expanding and supporting a mechanism for pharmaceutical corporations to sue developing countries like India and Thailand – outside of domestic courts in secret arbitration for millions of dollars – when it regulates monopolies in medicines in public interest. The inclusion of ISDS remains a serious threat against countries’ right to manage IP to protect of public health. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at email@example.com."Nearly 100 Organisations Press For Better Medicines Access In Asian Region RCEP Agreement" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.