December 3, 2011

Will the European Parliament Public Health committee formulate an opinion on ACTA?

Print More

As things stand now, the European Parliament committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety will not formulate an opinion on ACTA. Despite all the analysis work done on the effects ACTA will have on access to medicine, and despite health groups informed the Parliament, no Member of Parliament has asked the committee to formulate one.

It seems that there is not much awareness or interest in this committee in ACTA. The window of opportunity to get the committee to formulate an opinion is closing fast. Coming week, a very last attempt can be made.

This weekend, and the first days of next week, health groups have the last possibility to contact the committee members.

Recent analysis

Oxfam released a statement regarding ACTA and Public Health: “ACTA will undoubtedly impact access to affordable medicines in the EU and other signatories by curbing generic competition. There are great concerns that ACTA’s impact will extend beyond those countries that initially sign the Agreement, potentially undermining access for millions of patients in developing countries who depend on affordable, quality generics.”

Public Citizen raised concerns that the purported benefits of ACTA for public safety would be slim at best. Meanwhile, ACTA’s opportunity cost for more effective measures against unsafe products could be significant. Further, ACTA may impose direct costs on public health, by creating uncertainty and financial disincentives for the shipping of generic medicines. Public Citizen strongly advises a deeper and more considered legal review of ACTA.

The Greens / EFA group commissioned a study on ACTA and Access to Medicines. This study by Sean Flynn with Bijan Madhani concludes that ACTA increases the risks and consequences of wrongful searches, seizures, lawsuits and other enforcement actions for those relying on intellectual property limitations and exceptions to access markets, including the suppliers of legitimate generic medicines. This, in turn, is likely to make affordable medicines more scarce and dear in many countries.

Green technology

An FFII analysis shows ACTA’s heightened measures may hinder development and availability of medical equipment, diagnostic methods and instruments; will restrict government flexibility, impede innovation and slow the development and diffusion of green technology.