This week, the world’s wealthiest governments are negotiating a secretive deal that could cut off poor people from life-saving medicines. Millions rely on generic medicines to treat diseases like malaria and HIV. If this agreement goes forward, many peoples’ access to such drugs could be cut off, leaving those unable to afford name-brand medications to face death.
The treaty would set rules on “intellectual property” in a wide range of areas — from genetically modified crops to online file-sharing to drug patents. But four fifths of the world’s countries are excluded from the talks — including India and China. The negotiating governments are trying to rush through an agreement before public outcry can become too loud to ignore — but word is leaking out, and a tide of opposition is rising.
Our voices can tip this outrage over the edge. Public pressure has stopped unjust trade talks in previous years. Now, we can again ensure that no rotten deals are struck behind closed doors. Join the petition now for an open process and justice on essential medicines — Avaaz and partners will deliver it at next week’s negotiations in Tokyo if we reach 50,000 signers.
The so-called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement had been intentionally kept out of the public spotlight. But no longer: public health and internet freedom advocates are sounding the alarm, and China, India, and the European Parliament have all spoken out against it in recent weeks.
The proposed deal raises many concerns, but its most outrageous provision is its treatment of essential medicines. ACTA would treat many “generic” and “counterfeit” drugs identically, making cheap competition for name-brands subject to the same seize-and-destroy tactics applied to fake medicines.
Pharmaceutical giants claim that this is needed to protect consumer safety — but they themselves sell generic versions of medicines whose patents have expired. Generic medicines, which are often 90% less expensive, are not inherently more or less safe than name-brand drugs. The real differences are drug company profits — and poor people’s lives.
Mass citizen mobilisation has stopped similar moves by drug companies and rich country governments several times before. Let’s not allow a few countries to decide the fate of billions behind closed doors — sign the petition and spread the word:
Getting treatment when we are sick is something we all feel strongly about. Our vigilance this week can help fend off attempts to prevent medicines from reaching all who need them. Together, right now, we can begin to build a future in which each of us can equally overcome disease and stay healthy.
With hope for a better world,
Ben, Alex, David, Maria Paz, Iain and the whole Avaaz team
European Parliament passes anti-ACTA declaration:
Threat to online free expression from imminent international accord:
EU, US Consumer Groups Issue Resolution On Enforcement; Demand Role In ACTA:
IP Enforcement through Anti-Counterfeit Laws: The ACTA Negotiations and Their Implications:
More ACTA talks this week:
Bitkom Blasts ACTA: