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By April Stewart

The European Union has included stipulations on intellectual property rights in a free trade and investment agreement (FTA) that is currently being negotiated with India. The Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), an organization of HIV/AIDS positive people who advocate to improve the quality of life and define proper standards of living for the infected, held a “Die In” in front of the Ministry of Commerce to protest intellectual property regulations within the agreement.

Intellectual property (IP) rights have become problematic with generic drug companies producing antiretroviral medicines for AIDS patients. India, with these IP provisions will be unable to produce affordable medication for the portion of the population infected with HIV or AIDS.  If IP provisions are included within this agreement the patent terms will be extended, the exportation of generic drugs will become difficult, and there will be a “delay [in] the registration of generic medicines.”

Thomas Pogge, a German philosopher, argues that Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for pharmaceutical companies are “morally problematic” in his book World Poverty and Human Rights. I agree with his assessment; while intellectual property rights may suit art forms such as music, IP provisions should not be applicable to what Pogge has termed “essential medicines.” I would argue that with the modern developments of medicine for HIV/AIDS, these should be included in the definition of “essential medicine.” In many countries, funding for the first round of antiretroviral Read the rest of this entry »

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