ACTA could Adversely Affect Vulnerable People’s Access to Affordable Medication

On Saturday the 11th February, the Malta Anti-ACTA Group carried out a demonstration against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, commonly known as ACTA. This multi-national trade agreement focuses on intellectual property enforcement, and has been widely criticized for its lack of transparency, the danger it poses to Internet freedom, its ambiguous wording, and for being a potential threat to the trade in generic medicines. Koperattiva Kummerc Gust was a participant of the Malta Anti-ACTA Group and sent speakers during the press conference.

Katharina Beckmann the spokesperson for the event said that Koperattiva Kummerc Gust, as a Fair Trade organization, is particularly concerned about how ACTA could potentially affect the access of vulnerable people to low-cost generic medicines. According to Oxfam, “ACTA will undoubtedly impact access to affordable medicines in the EU and other signatories by curbing generic competition.” told Katharina Beckmann to journalists presents

The Oxfam report continues to voice concern that the impact of ACTA may extend beyond the states that have signed the agreement, resulting in the undermining of access to affordable generic drugs for millions of people in developing countries. Among the reasons cited is that, under ACTA, generic medicines might be in danger of being treated as counterfeits, and as such removed from circulation.

Lack of access to affordable medication in the Global South is one of the greatest challenges of our day. Millions of people do not have access to medication for conditions such as HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis because of the high prices demanded by pharmaceutical giants. According to the Stop Aids Campaign, ten million people (including tens of thousands of children) cannot access life-saving treatment for HIV, largely due to the high cost of drugs. Generic medicines provide a way of supplying life-saving pharmaceuticals to the most vulnerable people at an affordable cost: according to Oxfam, competition among generics producers resulted in a decline in price of first-line HIV treatment from $15,000 to $67 per patient per year between 2000 and 2010.

Koperattiva Kummerc Gust is necessarily opposed to any measure that can threaten the supply of medication to vulnerable people, and therefore supported the protest.