Swine flu highlights the problem of accepting the intellectual property protections promoted by the European Union

Globalization with Equity, the CAN-EU Alliance and HAI Latin America and
Caribbean | press release | 7 May 2009

Before the start of the Third round of negotiations for FTAs with the EU
in Brussels

Swine flu highlights the problem of accepting the intellectual property
protections promoted by the European Union

- Confronted by a potential pandemic, negotiations for FTAs with
the European Union are taking place in Brussels this week, where more
extensive protections for intellectual property will be discussed.
- Roche holds the global patent monopoly for Tamiflu but there
is insufficient capacity to meet global demand to confront the potential
crisis

Lima, 7/05/09 — In the potential swine flu pandemic (AH1N1), there is only
one medication available — oseltamivir — to effectively reduce the
mortality of this type of influenza. Currently, the license for the
production and marketing of the commercial brand Tamiflu belongs solely
to the Transnational Roche Company. In the private market for European
countries or the United States, complete treatment with Tamiflu could
cost more than 100 USD. Roche has said that the company has a production
capacity of 400 million treatments per year. This capacity is unlikely
to be sufficient to cope with the scale of the potential pandemic.

The existence of a drug with a single source of supply may lead to
restrictions on access to the medicine, because of production limits in
the face of increasing demand or emergencies, or because of abuses of
market position, which could increase prices. According to Roberto
Lopez, Coordinator for Health Action International Latin America and an
expert member of the CAN EU Alliance for access to medicines, "The swine
flu example raises questions about the scope of the IP protection
measures, including patents and test data protection".

The production of generics is only possible after the expiry of the
patent and any other mechanisms for protecting intellectual property,
but it is also dependent on the transfer of technology to enable other
companies to produce the drug. On the issue of technology transfer,
Roberto Lopez added: "The current system for protecting intellectual
property rights strengthens the monopoly and limits the transfer of
technology to other manufacturers to produce oseltamivir that could
prevent the risk of shortages of the drug"

Alejandra Alayza, Executive Coordinator of the Peruvian Network for
Globalization with Equity (RedGE) and a member of the CAN-EU Alliance,
expressed her concern about the aggressive position that the EU
maintained during the second round of negotiations in Lima, "In the
context of a threat of a influenza swine pandemic, we expect the EU to
withdraw its harmful proposals on intellectual property in which they
require 5 years of additional patent protection and 11 years of test
data protection. Various organizations will be present at the third
round in Brussels to ensure that the Peruvian negotiators do not accept
these harmful pressures". She also recalled that the estimated impact of
the EU’s proposal would lead to an increase of 386 million USD in health
expenditure in Peru, and this could affect access to medicines for 2.7
million Peruvians.

For more information, please contact Alejandra Alayza, Executive
Coordinator of the Peruvian Network for Globalization with Equity on
aalayza@cepes.org.pe or +511-4336610.

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