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TPP reduces patent flexibility for generic drugs: AIDS Coalition

  • Anton Hermansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Tue, February 16, 2016 | 12:16 am
TPP reduces patent flexibility for generic drugs: AIDS Coalition

The big deal: '€‹New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (right), speaks to delegates at the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in Auckland, New Zealand on Feb. 4. Trade ministers from 12 Pacific Rim countries including the US have ceremonially signed the free-trade deal. (David Rowland/SNPA via AP)

Before joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Indonesia might have to assess clauses in the pact that affect the government'€™s capacity to provide affordable vital medicines to the public.

Indonesian AIDS Coalition spokesman Aditya Wardhana said that countries such as India applied beneficial aspects the World Trade Organization (WTO) administered Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, which allows exceptions for some essential drugs.

"Under the TRIPS-Flexibility clause, India has canceled the patents of expensive essential medicines for cancer, AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome] and hepatitis. India is now the biggest producer of generic medicines in the world," he said on Monday in Jakarta.

The optimism for affordable medicine for the public was sparked when President Joko Widodo announced collaboration with India in developing the Indonesian pharmaceutical industry, allowing the country to learn how to maximize TRIPS flexibility to provide cheap generic medicines for the public.

However, Aditya said that optimism might fade if Indonesia joins the US-led free trade agreement as it had a TRIPS-plus ratification that led to an increase in patent periods and the scope of the powers of patent holders.

"If Indonesia joins the TPP, patent holders will use TRIPS-plus and sue the government for producing generic medicines as a violation of their patent rights," he warned. (ags)