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Bodies express concern over potential negative impact of FTA

Borneo Post, Malaysia

Bodies express concern over potential negative impact of FTA

4 March 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: Positive Living HIV (PLHIV) organisations in Malaysia yesterday expressed concern over the potential negative impact on HIV medication of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which the government is currently negotiating with the United States and the European Commission (EC).

Malaysian AIDS Council President Datuk Zaman Khan said these FTAs brought access to anti-retroviral medication under direct threat, and thus the livelihood of Malaysians living with HIV would also be threatened.

“Concern is centred on potential FTA provisions that would limit access to life-saving medicines for PLHIV in Malaysia, such as data exclusivity, extending patent lifespan, ‘evergreening’ the patent, limitation of conditions for compulsory licensing and making the drug regulatory authority play the role of ‘patent police’,” he said in a statement here.

Zaman Khan said FTAs have been known to include stringent visions of these provisions, resulting in governments adopting Intellectual Property Rights obligations that exceeded the general requirements of the World Trade Organisation.

Restrictive provisions decreased the availability of generic HIV medications, exponentially increasing the cost of medication and, thus, significantly impacted access to medication for PLHIV, he added. — Bernama