February 26, 2012

Where did the patients go?

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The European Commission decided to ask the EU Court of Justice an opinion on ACTA. Commissioner Karel De Gucht stated: “We are planning to ask Europe’s highest court to assess whether ACTA is incompatible – in any way – with the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and information or data protection and the right to property in case of intellectual property.”

I note De Gucht does not mention public health issues. Oxfam (pdf), Public Citizen (pdf), Médecins Sans Frontières (pdf), and Flynn and Madhani voiced serious concerns over access to essential medicines – a matter of life and death. Furthermore, the Commission did not assess the effects ACTA may have on diffusion of green technology, needed to fight climate change.

The Commission should ask the Court to also assess global public health concerns. Is ACTA compatible with Human dignity and the Right to life, protected by the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union, art 1 and 2, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, art 2, and the Treaty on European Union, art 2?