Article by Kevin Carson.
Among the terms of a so-called “free trade agreement” between the European Union and India is a requirement for “data exclusivity” which will eviscerate India’s generic drug industry.
“Data exclusivity” means that clinical trials conducted before marketing by the company that originally produced the drug cannot be applied to meet government safety or efficacy requirements for the generic version. Each separate company that wants to market a generic version of a patented drug will first have to conduct its own clinical trials as a precondition. That directly contradicts one of the arguments commonly put forward by patent apologists — that patents are an antidote to trade secrets because they require openness as a condition of obtaining a patent.
“Data exclusivity” is a death sentence not only for those in India who can’t afford to pay tribute to the owners of state-granted patent monopolies, but also for the people of such countries as South Africa and Brazil, where the availability of cheap medicine for treating HIV depends on the output of India’s generic drug industry.
Let’s be clear on something: Those who call this abomination a “free trade agreement” are liars. It’s like calling the Nuremberg Laws a civil rights act. The people in the drug industry and their lackeys in Washington and Brussels heap coals of fire on their own heads every time the words “free trade” come out of their filthy, lying mouths.
Those who claim that drug patents are necessary to recoup the expenses of developing drugs are wrong. The patent system skews R&D toward gaming the patent system rather than developing the most effective drugs.